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

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:

A glass-blower at work.

What I don't like in the picture:

The above is a snapshot. I would expect to see a shot like this in a brochure somewhere. It's descriptive, but it's not emotive.

What I learned:

"Distill to the essence" is a phrase I use a lot. This is an example of doing so with processing. The essence of this image is the heat and that glowing ball of glass. By desaturating and darkening everything except the ball of glass, that orange glow becomes the photograph. Just what I wanted to portray.