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:

I don't really find these of interest, so I have no explanation why I photographed them.

What I don't like in the picture:

The top of the frame cuts off the tip of the propeller blade.

What I learned:

No matter how interesting (or boring) an object is, you can't cut off a tip of it without it looking like a mistake. Chop off a lot and it looks like you did it on purpose. Slice off just the tip and uh-oh — you are a bad photographer.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I do like the grace of the bottom propeller in the image at left. Reminds me of a dancer's pose.