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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Original digital capture

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What I saw that I liked:

From Jan 2003. My first session with my first digital camera.

What I don't like in the picture:

The b/w rendition.

What I learned:

Prior to purchasing this first digital camera, I was a strictly b/w photographer. I still thought of myself as a b/w photographer even though my camera captured RGB images. I automatically converted all images to b/w — because that's what I was!

But then some of them (e.g., the one above) just didn't work as b/w images. I was trying to do something that looked lik a moon-lit courtyard. Instead it looks like and underexposed rectangle of yuck.

Curiously enough, when I looked at it in color as the camera captured it, I wasn't so sure I was a strictly b/w photographer anymore. Life is change.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I've never used this image in anything. Maybe I should rethink that.