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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What I saw that I liked:

The landscape above is nice. Not fantastic, but nice.

What I don't like in the picture:

It's nice. (This is not a compliment.)

What I learned:

Have I mentioned that photographs are all about relationships? I have? Good. Because they are.

The one above is about the relationship of mountain to clouds. It's a "weather picture." Not bad, but certainly not great.

The one at left shifts the relationship to include us, humans, and our presence in the landscape. It's even somewhat experiential. To my mind, it's much more engaging than the one above. I'm more in the landscape rather than merely observing it.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

An odd bit of color balance in those clouds. I need to see if I can fix that.