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:

Graceful lady's gloves in the historic Ansorge Hotel.

What I don't like in the picture:

The above was my first composition. But if the gloves are the subject of my composition, why include the entirety of the lamp, the entire doily, or the legs of the table?

What I learned:

Remember, the first rule of composition is to eliminate the unnecessary. The image at left was my second attempted composition. Have we lost any context? Lamp, check; doily, check; table, check. But now the gloves are the obvious subject.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Hmmm . . . b/w?