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:

What a lovely idea! A quaint farmer in rural China with his hoe and his pipe. Love it.

What I don't like in the picture:

Perfectly focused on the bamboo trees. The farmer is out of focus. A camera before "face detection" technology . . . or an incompetent photographer. Or both.

Also, nicely cropped except for the part where I cut off his right heel.

What I learned:

This is what happens when you are not prepared and ready to capture the unexpected. By the time I turned on the camera, brought it to my eye and focused, just too many things could go wrong — and did.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Always be ready . . . which I was by the time he had passed me. Unfortunately, all I was left with was the dreaded "butt shot." Yuck.