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:

Minor White sitting on my shoulder saying, "Here, HERE!"

What I don't like in the picture:

That I am not as accomplished at photographing "what else it is" as Minor White was. I have no doubt his image would have been a Zen-Cosmic something or other. Mine is not.

What I learned:

It may be possible to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but it is harder than it looks.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Would it work better if I completely eliminated all the text from nail heads and discs and made them look like cosmic holes or moons? "Worth a try," says Minor White from his meditation pillow in the sky.