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've never met a dirt road I didn't like.

What I don't like in the picture:

Neither of these are great, but there is a subtle difference in where I stood. The one above emphasizes the distance to the horizon; the one at left emphasizes the diagonal line across the composition.

What I learned:

Diagonal lines are more captivating, but by themselves they don't guarantee an interesting image. I didn't spend enought time exploring this spot to come up with a winner. That's the problem with being in a hurry. My loss.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I really needed a ladder with this one, too. An elevation of even a few feet would have made a huge improvement.