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:

Brooms in the snow at a temple in China.

What I don't like in the picture:

The first broom I saw with the one above. I snapped a quick picture and was about to move the shovel from the scene when one of the monks came up to take the broom to sweep the snow. I suppose I could try to remove the shovel in Photoshop, but that would be a lot of fiddly work.

What I learned:

Fortunately, where there is one broom, there are probably more brooms. You can quote me on that. the one at left has the added advantage that it was propped next to a round door with the red pillars visible through the opening. Definitely a more "Chinese feeling" than the example above. I ended with a dozen or so images of broom photos at the end of the day. The one at left is my favorite of the lot.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

This might be better as a b/w now that I think of it.