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:

Remember the blue-robed monk from yesterday? I bumped into his roommate who asked if I would like to photograph in his dorm room. Sure! When we entered, there was my blue-robed monk!

What I don't like in the picture:

When you bring your camera in from the cold, it might just fog up a bit. Might.

What I learned:

We chatted (well, we fumbled with dictionaries for a few minutes) and my lens cleared up as it warmed up. That allowed me to make a quick portrait of the monk sans his blue robe. I have three more shot of this fellow, so a short 5-shot project.

And to think I almost didn't visit this temple because it was so cold that day. Just go. Just be there. Just allow it to happen and you just might end up with something very fun.