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:

You would think that a unique rock with an arch hole, photographed smack dab in the glow of the golden hour, would make a slam dunk winner. You'd think, wouldn't you?

What I don't like in the picture:

Whenever I have to crop this much, I know I was just plain lazy. No excuses. This is embarrassing.

What I learned:

Interesing subject don't make good photographs; interesting light doesn't make good photographs; photogenic locales don't make good photographs. Photographers do. Unless they are lazy and take shortcuts they know better than to take.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Superimpose a sunbathing nude? Superimpose a space traveler from another galaxy? Where is Elvis when you need him?