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:

Wandering around junk stores looking for compositions is one of my favorite locations to photograph.

What I don't like in the picture:

I liked the shine on these spoons. It's a golden glow. But the blue fabric in the case is overpowering.

What I learned:

Here again, the story comes through better with a view of the details. I realized it wasn't the gold glow on the spoons that was the point of interest, but rather the reflections on the knives as seen at left.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I originally processed this as a grayscale b/w image. On second thought, I think I got a better result after processing with a split tone. The shadows are warm, the highlights are a bit blue.