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:

I really need to stop photographing doors and windows, but I just can't. Not sure I ever met a door or window I didn't like.

What I don't like in the picture:

The red caught my eye, but all brickwork is meh. What could I do with just the door?

What I learned:

I love it when I look at an image for a while and think I've got it, only to discover a surprise I wasn't expecting. That's what happens with the image on the left. By rotating it so the door handle and lock are discovered as a surprise, I think it makes a much more interesting photograph.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Of course, it could be just an abstract with the door parts. I should try cropping or cloning them out just to see what happens.