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:

Tree shadow in the dunes. Nice purist landscape image of pristine nature.

What I don't like in the picture:

As much as I want to like the purist image, I have to confess that as a photograph, I much prefer the one at left with the dune buggies. Way more interesting.

What I learned:

Imposing our wishes in the selection of subject matter is not always our best option. Sometimes we have to just go with the flow and photograph what is happening that is interesting, even it is radically different that what we hoped to photograph.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Odd color in the blue sky. Might need to fix that.