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.

Click on the image to see it larger

Previous image  |  Next image

Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

What I saw that I liked:

A Mondrian-like group of geometric shapes on a wall in Capitol Reef, Utah.

What I don't like in the picture:

I don't often previsualize processing when I'm in the field, but in this case I knew I would have to clone out that bush in the lower left corner and add some contrast to the rocks.

What I learned:

Strangely enough, this shape is very similar to a famous Zen painting titled The Universe by Sengai (d. 1837). How is it that these connections can be made from deep within our subconscious memory?