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 have no idea how to make a still photograph of something that is essentially movement — like this couple dancing in the park in Hangzhou, China.

What I don't like in the picture:

Well, for one, her eyes are closed. Unlucky moment. Then he looks like he's about to fall down rather than moving.

The one at left is better, but she has an odd expression in her glance and I don't like that we can't see his complete face.

What I learned:

Getting a good dance shot is harder than it looks. Makes me admire even more those photographers who can do this well.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I suppose the answer is to just keep shooting and learning from my mistakes. Like always.