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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Extreme Salvage Week

Images where something was made from practically nothing.

I received a couple of emails asking if I could do more of the massive conversions I illustrated in this post. Sounds fun, so that's what I'm doing this week.

What I saw that I liked:

This feels like dolphins or something, jumping in an alien ocean. (Forgive me if I've buggered up your Rorschach projection.)

What I don't like in the picture:

This was deep under a massive ship in the Dakota Creek shipyard. Just a welding line. The photograph is awful. Flat, underexposed, lifeless. Other than that…

What I learned:

Doing this kind of extreme processing is always easier when the subject is an abstract. I think this is part of the reason I'm so drawn to abstracts — it's a natural playground for our imagination.