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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Point Lobos Tide Pools, 1972 by Wynn Bullock
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What I saw that I liked:

Perhaps it is a left-over habit from my view camera days, but I find it easy to visualize images rotated from reality. One of my favorite photographs of all time is one presented upside down by Wynn Bullock.

What I don't like in the picture:

My original capture above is a sandstone wall on the Oregon coast — and not all that interesting.

What I learned:

Rotating it 90-degrees counterclockwise, however, turns this sandstone wall into a tortured, one-eyed face I think Picasso would enjoy.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

This is an image I should write a One-picture Story about.