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:

Isn't it interesting how certain graphical ideas seem to circle around with repetition? I photographed the image at left just outside Yosemite in September of 2015. Without remembering that I had this image in my archives, I photographed the above in September of 2022. The similarities are striking.

This makes me wonder if there are certain compositions that are part of our artistic DNA that draws us to them over and over again. I have other examples of similar images from years apart. I hope that doesn't mean I am a compositional automaton!

Of is it that something deep in my memory recalled the earlier version on a subconscious level. If so, why would we be compelled to photographic it again? It's a mystery.