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:

Same boxing gloves in the same prairie school, but photographed years apart.

What I don't like in the picture:

The above is my classic mistake — photographing a subject because I find it visually insteresting. But the damn photograph doesn't say anything.

What I learned:

The juxtaposition of the boxing gloves and the flag establish a relationship in which the two objects talk to one another — and back to us. BTW, that is exactly as I found them, just like that. I wish I could take credit for the positioning, but it was just dumb luck.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

The white stripes in the flag could be whiter, I suppose.