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:

Fall grass. Love it.

What I don't like in the picture:

Kodak told us to put the sun over our shoulder and let the light fall on the subject. Well, not always.

What I learned:

I don't ever remember Kodak mentioning back-light, not even once. If they did, I must have been asleep. Back-light is my favorite kind of light. It seems to glow out of the subject rather than bouncing off of it.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I must have 1,000 photographs of fall grass. I really need to think about another project here.