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:

Trees hanging on the cliff

Comment #1:

This is a fairly typical example of my working method in the field. I'll often make 2-3 compositions of a single subject. I'm never sure what I might need, so why not give myself options?

Comment #2:

In this case, I made the one at left first, then zoomed out to make the one above. Which is better? That's the wrong question.

Each image could be the right one depending on the project and the other images in the project. Again, why not give ourselves options during the final stages of the project?

Comment #3

Do these images remind you of anything you've seen before? Those hanging trees on the cliffs in China's Huangshan mountains? There are no new ideas. Well, maybe there are a few, but mostly eveything we might do has already been done. Do it anyway. It'll be your version of it.