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:

The world needs more bovine photography. It just does.

What I don't like in the picture:

That triangle of bald sky ruins a perfectly mediocre photograph by turning it into a perfectly awful one.

What I learned:

Enter the ethical debate of Adobe's new Sky Replacement tool in Photoshop. Personally, I don't hesitate to use it. This is art, and I side with those who say the artist can do anything they want. The public might resist it, but that doesn't change the artist's ability to "cheat." Besides, I removed one of the cows, too. Is that cheating?

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I need to paste in some giraffes or a couple of llama's for poetic symmetry, don't you think?