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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What I saw that I liked:

Never met a dried weed I didn't want to photograph.

What I don't like in the picture:

This is a thing . . .

What I learned:

. . . and I've harped on for years now that photography is about relationships. Hence, a slight change of composition to make the one at left that shows a relationship. But with a spider web?

That said, I have a knee-jerk reaction again photographs of spider webs. It's a long, embarrassing story about an early high school photograph class assignment. To this day, I can't take seriously any photograph I make of a spider web. Cringe-inducing, but with therapy I hope to overcome this self-limitation.

2nd Chances: What I might try next