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.

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Original digital capture

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What I saw that I liked:

Not sure which, but I think this is either an homage to Jack Nicholson or the Bates Motel. (I don't even like scary movies.)

What I don't like in the picture:

I can't decide if this is a shot for a Hallmark card or for hanging above my fireplace. Or if I was just nuts in thinking I could do something with this scene. Really, just creepy.

What I learned:

What I saw in my mind's eye was closer to the image at the left — a bit darker and threatening. Calling Dr. Freud, calling Dr. Freud!

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I'm not sure I like that I even took this image, so I'm not real motivated to try to make something out of it.