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 image won't make any sense — unless you happen to be familiar with a couple of 40 year old books by Thomas Joshua Cooper. They are about chaos in nature. You can see an example on this page.

What I don't like in the picture:

I'm not as talented as Thomas Joshua Cooper. I've carried his images in my mental gallery for decades. At least now I can say I tried.

What I learned:

Great artists have a way of making their work look easy. Until you try it yourself. It's humbling.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I have not idea what to try next. Perhaps I should go back to Cooper's books and look again.