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:


What I don't like in the picture:

There are a few subjects I have attempted over and over again and never made a photograph I thought was worth a damn. Kites and kite flying are one of those. I need a workshop on this one.

What I learned:

I have not doubt that I'm interested in this subject because of Japanese ukiyo-e prints. There are a number of them that feature kite flying and they are just terrific. Of course, when you are drawing a kite you can do so from any point of view and with infinite depth of field. Here is one from Hiroshige (click on it for a larger view).

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Become an ukiyo-e artist? Maybe a bit late to start that training regimine.