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:

I'll admit that neither of these are great shots, but they will allow me to make an important point about the edges of an image.

What I don't like in the picture:

In the one above, near the top edge is a cross of welding line. That's ok, but the point in the welding lines below that is a stronger focal point.

What I learned:

In the one on the left, I cropped a little closer and brought that point nearer the edge. Not too close it is looks like a mistake, but close enough so there is some tension between the point and the edge of the frame. Better than the one above, but I've never used this image anywhere, so I must not like it that much.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I wonder if I could merge this image with another in a layer blend to make something interesting?