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.

Click on the image to see it larger

Previous image  |  Next image

Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

What I saw that I liked:

Beautiful light.

What I don't like in the picture:

Yet another example of light in search of a subject. Do you remember the "dead cat" story? I look at the above and let go of the light and admit to myself that it's just a bunch of dead twigs.

What I learned:

Just to the side of the dead twigs was the subject in the image to the left. Better — because it's at least a subject — but surely nothing to brag about.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I should have used the 180-degree rule here and searched for a better subject that was illuminated by this same light.