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:

A slightly syncopated balance — always a good goal in an abstract.

What I don't like in the picture:

This one has been bugging me for a long time. I keep looking at it, but there is something wrong and for the longest time I couldn't put my finger on it...

What I learned:

... then I turned it upside down, and voilá. EXPLOSION. When I have an image like this one that haunts me, I've learned to never give up on them. Eventually (in this case 16 years) the answer may come.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Now that I recognize this as sort of apocalyptic, I might search for others that my Dark Muse has motivate me to make that also remain undiscovered in my archives.