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:

I can never resist fog.

What I don't like in the picture:

Neither of these are great pictures, but they do illustragte a point: photography is about relationships.

What I learned:

Relationships are often defined by the composition. In the one above the "relationship" is between the rock and the fog. In the one at left, the "relationship" is between the two rocks. The fog remains the same in both shots, but it rises to a much more important role in the image in the one above. Which is better? I suppose that depends entirely on which relationship you want to emphasize in the finish artwork. Both answers can be right. That's the thing about artmaking, it boils down to the choices you make and the intent you emphasize.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

B/W? I think I also want to texturize that fog with something extreme. Hmmm. . .