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

What I saw that I liked:

Skimming light on the hillside.

What I don't like in the picture:

The buildings, the haze, the weak colors. Need I go on, or is this enough to sum up a crappy image?

What I learned:

More and more I am understanding the power of today's digital processing. From this awful scene (above) I was able to create the image at left. There is no stretch of the imagination in which I could claim that I foresaw the possibilities as I was standing there photographing. We make art; we don't capture it.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

This is an image I need to print large — 16x20 or larger.