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:

I've said on several occasions that photography is more about the shadows than it is about the light.

What I don't like in the picture:

Clearly, I was either wrong, or this is more difficult than it looks.

What I learned:

I shot 52 compositions as I waited for Maureen outside a store in Port Townsend. Only the one on the left looks even remotely interesting. One a scale of 1 to 10, about a 3 at best.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I think there is potential here, but I'll need to shoot about 1000 more of these. And do some research to learn who else has done this before me — and there will be several. I need to learn from them if I am to succeed at this.