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.

Click on the image to see it larger

Previous image  |  Next image

Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

Water Week

I was once advised that there are limitless opportunities for photography at the water's edge. I believe this is true.

Observation #5:

Water, like nature itself, abhors a straight line. The straight line is a human invention.

What I learned:

To make successful photographs of water (or of nature), we need to let go of the straight, the rectilinear, the geometric. We need to embrace the organic, the curved, the chaotic. Indeed, making artwork from nature is a process in which we must abandon our human conceptions of organization entirely and become sensitive to the ways of the living world.