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:

We were driving down the Snake River road, so naturally I was looking for pictures of the river. A little dappled sun was a nice find.

What I don't like in the picture:

But . . . it just doesn't excite me. It's alright, but it doesn't make my heart skip a beat.

What I learned:

But then I happened to glance up to my left on the bank of the hill next to the road. Certainly not the most novel subject matter ever, but the dappled light made the powelines glow against the dark clouds. I could see using this one in a project someday.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Would it be better as a b/w image? I'll have to give that a try.