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:

Cabin in the woods — well, next to the road, anyway.

What I don't like in the picture:

Sometimes I try to do too much. The above is a great example of that. Compositional chaos.

What I learned:

You can never go wrong when following that old bumper sticker wisdom, K.I.S.S. Better to make three or four images out of the above than to try to fit it all into a single image which results in a mess.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

The more I look at the image at left, the more it needs to be very warm-tone, perhaps more like a platinum-palladium print.