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.

Click on the image to see it larger

Previous image  |  Next image

Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

What I saw that I liked:

Three layers — the foreground rocks, the distant mountains, the whispy clouds.

What I don't like in the picture:

Too, too static. No movement, no excitement, just sort of blah.

What I learned:

I recall this scene and the moment I made the image. I was tired, hot, thirsty and sort of just going through the motions. This is not a great way to approach the artmaking process.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I've been to the Alabama Hills to photograph on two occasions. I have a lot of images from there, but I think I need to process them with more dramatic light. Maybe.