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:

Generally speaking, this is the kind of ordered chaos that I love to photograph.

What I don't like in the picture:

This was going to be b/w from the moment I clicked the shutter. Once I had made the conversion, I was disappointed. As a b/w, it's just too much chaos.

What I learned:

Color can be an organizing principle. Who knew?

2nd Chances: What I might try next

If I'm going to do anything with the color version of this image, it's going to need some tweaking. White balance isn't right and maybe some punching up or desaturating might be needed. Time to start playing around.