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:

Repeating patterns in nature are always fun.

What I don't like in the picture:

The first attempt (above) was sketchy — just not enough leaves there to fill the frame I wanted to.

What I learned:

When plants find an environment in which they can thrive, the often do. Keep looking, which I did and eventually found the cluster of dried leaves at left. That's what I wanted to photograph in the above.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I suppose this is another example of why I am not a successful gallery photographer; who wants a photograph of dried leaves on their living room walls? Oh, well. I like this one at left and ultimately I suppose that's good enough.