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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What I saw that I liked:

The poor deer dominated the scene — and my mind. I made several compositions with the deer and the school in the background.

What I don't like in the picture:

None of these deer/school compositions work for me. There is simply no relationship between the dead deer and the white school. None. And try as hard as I might to bend and shape the composition and the metaphor, I simply could not make them work.

After about an hour of photographing, I gave up. That is, I let go of the dead deer and starting looking for something else that interested me. It was the drinking fountain (barely visible as a tiny detail in the above) that became the photograph I like from this spot.

What I learned:

Sometimes you just have to let go of your first idea in order to allow the subsequent ideas to gain entry to your mind.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I really don't want to do a "roadkill" portfolio, so I guess this one won't go any further until I can think of something else I might do with it.