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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This week I'm looking back at my photographs from the Dakota Creek Shipyard in Anacortes.

What I saw that I liked:

Intense workers

What I don't like in the picture:

Too bad we can't see what they are intense about!

What I learned:

When the photograph shows someone looking intently at something they are working on, we need to see what it is that they are so intent upon. Thankfullly, I leared this fairly early in my shipyard project.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

This isn't a great photograph, but it was a great lesson that guided the rest of my work in the shipyard over 10 years.