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:

At the moment I saw this little tyke dancing in the projected light in this Chinese market, I picture him as a sort of alien arriving in the circle where he'd been beamed into.

What I don't like in the picture:

I had hoped that a mixed color treatment might make it more other-worldly. It didn't.

What I learned:

Imagination is tricky. It is so easy for us to project onto an image something from our imagination, but it is much more challenging to have that come across to viewers who don't share our fantasy.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I wonder if I could Photoshop a space between his feet and the ground so it looks like he is floating just above the ground? And if I could, would the image be any better?