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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Extreme Salvage Week

Images that started with a steaming pile of yuck.

Lots of emails asking if I could do more of the massive recoveries I illustrated in this post.

What I saw that I liked:

I loved the sensation of this pine tree hanging over the rock cliff, suspended in the air.

What I don't like in the picture:

The far side of the draw, the power lines, the branches in the upper left poking into the frame. All this conspired to destroy the sense of the mid-air suspension.

What I learned:

Just clone tool the hell out of it. Don't give up until the image presents your inner vision.