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:

Hawaii, incredibly lush growth.

What I don't like in the picture:

Is this a picture, or a background for a picture?

What I learned:

I have a lot of this kind of thing. I keep making these pictures and I never do anything with them. Maybe there is a message there.

This one (below) that has some of the same elements, but there is a subject. That's what's missing from the composition at the left.

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2nd Chances: What I might try next

I could count the number of leaves in this image and then use that as a title —2,483,224 Leaves. Or not.