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:

Elderly dancers getting some exercise in the Jingshan Park in Beijing, China.

What I don't like in the picture:

Too far away; overexposed; too many trees; a photographer far too shy and intimidated for success.

What I learned:

I made 36 pictures of these dancers. I got progressively closer and tried to isolate on one individual. Finally, on shot #35, I got the one at left. Patience is a virtue. Or is it perseverence that's the virtue? Maybe both, working in tandem.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I wish now I had taken the time to do a more extensive project of these dancers. I was too quick to move on.