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:

Fresh snow. Yay.

What I don't like in the picture:

Habits are so hard to break. I tend to repeat this pattern over and over again — find a way to make a three dimensional scene look flat, and crop my images to favor pristine nature scenes. In truth, this scene was neither as I observed it.

What I learned:

The image at left is neither pristine nature nor flat. I'm trying to force myself to see more three-dimensionally, especially with wide lenses. I don't think it's a particularly good photograph. I'm not crazy how the road leads our eye out of the left side of the image. But at least it's an attempt to break a 50 year-old habitual way of seeing.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Crop the left some?