Brooks Jensen Arts

Every Picture Is a Compromise

Lessons from the Also-rans

Most photography websites show the photographer's very best work. Wonderful. But that's not the full story of a creative life. If we want to learn, we'd better pay attention to the images that aren't "greatest hits" and see what lessons they have to offer. Every picture is a compromise — the sum of its parts, optical, technical, visual, emotional, and even cosmic – well, maybe not cosmic, but sometimes spiritual. Success on all fronts is rare. It's ok to learn from those that are not our best.

This is a series about my also-rans, some of which I've been able to improve at bit (i.e., "best effort"), none of which I would consider my best. With each there are lessons worth sharing, so I will.

Click on the image to see it larger

Previous image  |  Next image

Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

What I saw that I liked:

Five shadows (maybe more?) from one subject. Very cool. . .

What I don't like in the picture:

. . . but way too intellectual for success. Compositionally, this just doesn't work. It is an unidentifiable subject, but it's also not an abstract. Oh, well.

What I learned:

As photographers, we are far more aware of things like shadows and highlights than the normal person would be. What might fascinate us, could be simply invisible to non-photographers. Worth remembering.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

If this effect with the multiple shadows were in relationship to something more identifiable — e.g., a wine glass — then it might work. But a welder's hose hanging in front of a ship's hull? Nope.