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:

Chunky abstract shapes.

What I don't like in the picture:

That top triangle is out of focus and distracting.

What I learned:

Even as I clicked the shutter, I suspected that depth of field was going to be a problem. I recomposed at left and waited for some sun. I solved the DOF issue, but I'm not sure that helped much. Sometimes we can fix the technical, but the aesthetic still remains questionable.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Would it be any more interesting if I went wild and applied different colors to these planes and really did Mondrian?