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:

Prairie seesaw.

What I don't like in the picture:

Knowing that photography is best when it is about relationships, I tried to use the rock in the foreground to imply a relationship. Unfortunately, there isn't a relationship other than proximity.

What I learned:

Even worse, because the schoolhouse is not visible in the above, you have no idea it is even there. Hence, the recomposed shot at left. It's ok, but the seesaw board is so thin it doesn't stand out like I'd like it to. Nice try, but neither of these images work for me.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I should have gotten down at ground level and shot up at the seesaw.