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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Original digital capture

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What I saw that I liked:

Layers and layers, leading to the light.

What I don't like in the picture:

Why, oh why, did I think it was necessary to include that bright wall on the very left and very right edges of the picture? And then there is the little bright triangle at the top middle! Edges, Brooks, mind the edges!

What I learned:

Cropping helps, removing the barrel distortion helps; recovering some highlight detail helps. None of that helps enough.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

The one I use is the one at the left, bottom. Not the same sense of layers, but I do like the almost bilateral symmetry.