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:

Another example of the chaos of the world. I just love trying to make something with this visual cacophony.

What I don't like in the picture:

Here again, too much chaos and not enough simplifying.

What I learned:

I found these tumbleweeds all along a mile or so of this fence. I kept moving up a few yards and trying again, then another few yards and trying again. Finally, I found something that (sort of) works. It was a matter of finding the right combination of bare dirt in a distant background, reasonaly flat tumble weed, and a simpler pattern in the barbed wire. Sort of. Not great, but heading in the right direction.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

A little judicious darkening of the that white stalk in the lower left might help.