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:

Of late, I've become more and more interested in these beams of sunlight that sneak their way through the trees and undergrowth to spotlight a photographic subject.

What I don't like in the picture:

This flower shadow is fun, but I can't let go of the idea that it is a jumbo jet banking to the left. I also am not crazy how the grain in the wood turned red when I increased the vibrance. B/W didn't work, either.

What I learned:

Light is fun, but it must shine in service to content and composition that is the heart of the photograph. Otherwise, it is just fun light.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Invert the entire image and go b/w? I think I like this one better!