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:

I love photographing rock walls. Can't explaing, but can't stop photographing them.

What I don't like in the picture:

Rock wall photographs dance a fine line between being just a dumb rock wall and being a captivating abstract. Finding the sweet spot between these extremes is not easy. Mostly I fail at it.

What I learned:

An easy cheat is to find a rock wall that serves as a background for something more interesting — a tree trunk, a shadow, a bird's nest, or a wasp colony. The rock wall then doesn't have to carry the load of being the subject, it can just be the context for the subject.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I'll bet this would translate to b/w beautifully.