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:

A near/far leading line that can be enhanced with tonal contrast. I like it!

What I don't like in the picture:

The image at left is the tonal representation I was hoping for. Too bad the leading line . . .

What I learned:

. . . doesn't lead to any sorrt of visual payoff. It just takes me right out of the top of the frame at warp speed. With this kind of strong, dominant eye movement, there simply has to be something that arrests our eye movement or the momentum simply cannot be stopped.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

This image would have been perfect if only I'd had a nude wood nymph, a unicorn, or Elvis enjoing a casual moment of rest at the top of the frame. Damn.