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:

Between these two image from Bandon beach at sunset, I see a huge philosophical difference.

What I don't like in the picture:

The one above would be most people's choice, but in my way of thinking, it's not very "artistic." I haven't shown you anything you couldn't see for yourself, and that makes it a lesser image. Nice, but cliché.

What I learned:

The one at left will never be as popular, but in my mind it is the much more artistic image. Do we judge our artwork by popular opinion, or our own expressive inner self?

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Looking at the image at left again, I might want to try to bring out just a bit more shadow detail from that dark rock.