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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2nd Time Around Week

What I saw that I liked:

Probably the publisher in me, but I just love old typewriters. One of my favorite images of all time is Old Typewriter, 1951 by Wynn Bullock.

What I don't like in the picture:

The one above was made before I knew about focus stacking. in order to keep it all sharply in focus, I left some distance between the camera and the machine with the assumption I would crop in.

What I learned:

With focus stacking, I was able to get a much more intimate point of view in the image at left. A new technique doesn't guarantee a better image, but sometimes that new technique is the solution.