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 play the composite video of stills plus audio.

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Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

What I saw that I liked:

The hectic hubbub of an outdoor market in China on a day that was well below freezing.

What I don't like in the picture:

The market was cacaphonous. Photographs are silent.

What I learned:

Just because I am a still photographer doesn't mean that I am restricted to one medium. I turned on my digital audio recorder and walked the market street photographing as normal, but simultaneously capturing the audio of the scene. A little editing and I had a slide show of still images with live audio. Click the image at left to play this short video.

Worth some thought:

Photograph is a great medium and does some things far better than any other medium yet invented. I could say the same thing about video. But there is this third option for us photographers that combines audio with stills. I think this is a very underutilized presentation method that hold all kinds of potential. Why not give it a try?