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:

A chance to play with a new idea.

What I don't like in the picture:

Yuck. 'Nuf said.

What I learned:

I was right to attempt this, even though it fails. Experimenting, pooping around, trying something risky, the curiosity to just see what happens "if" — all are great motivations in the creative life. Most times, such efforts will fail. Who cares? It's not that I failed that counts, but what I learned that counts. I still think there is an image idea in this one somewhere, just not this time. I'll continue to try new things and someday I'm going to get this image idea to work.

Optimism is an important attribute in the creative life. So is self-honesty when it just doesn't work, like this one.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

What if I get rid of the tree trunk and the rock?