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:

This is a compositional gimmick I keep trying over and over . . .

What I don't like in the picture:

. . . and it never quite seems to work. Always seems forced to me. Instead of screaming SUBJECT, they always seem to scream LEADING LINE COMPOSITION.

What I learned:

I think the missing element in these images is some object that is more important than the leading line. Haven't found that composition yet, but I'll keep trying. The one at left is probably closer to success than others, but I've never used it in a project that I can recall.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Just keep experimenting. I know this can be done, I just haven't succeeded yet.