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:

I must like something in this near/far type of picture in the prairie because I have lots of them.

What I don't like in the picture:

I must dislike something in these near/far pictures in the prairie because I don't remember ever using one in a project. I think I must have at least a couple hundred variations on this image.

What I learned:

Whatever I'm supposed to learn from these examples, I haven't learned it yet. I keep looking at them in my Lightroom catalog and just never use them. Something obviously connects with me, but without knowing what that is, I'm at a loss. Sometimes a photographer's greatest asset is patience.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Maybe I'll make a Lightroom collection of all of these and see if anything pops to mind.