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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Original digital capture

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What I saw that I liked:

I love photographing in the shipyard across the street from our old offices.

What I don't like in the picture:

It's so easy for me to forget I'm trying to interpret the place artistically and fall into the habit of documenting it. The image above shows what was there that day, but is flat and emotionless.

What I learned:

I needed to figure out a way to make these ships look BIGGER. The one above makes the ship look smaller. Photography is looking for the angles of our imagination. You may quote me on that.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Now that I look at it again, that cloud on the lowest edge near the left corner needs to go. Hello, clone tool!