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:

A feather caught in a spider web, next to a leaf. That swoop of a line made by the rusty fender of an old car. Two possible subjects.

What I don't like in the picture:

Look how much I had to crop in to get a composition without that stupid wheel. Anytime you have to crop this much, you know you did something really wrong in the original capture.

What I learned:

I rushed this one. There was stuff going on outside the barn and I didn't want to miss it. Because I delayed going outside by trying to get this picture, but rushed this one carelessly, I lost both opportunities. Greed is an ugly thing.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Prioritize; concentrate on excellence not opportunity; remember that there is always tomorrow and you can't get them all.