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:

Pots seemingly floating in a pond full of — are they water lilies or lotus plants? I'm not sure.

What I don't like in the picture:

In the one above there is a white plastic pot inside the cement pot that isn't very attractive.

What I learned:

Not only that, the key idea in this image is the relationship between the pot and the floating leaves. Do I need three pots to show that relationship? Or does the one pot accomplish the comparison in a simpler composition? Yup, for me it does.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

This is shown here with the default color balance. I might need to tweak that just a bit to warm it up a tad.