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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Original digital capture

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What I saw that I liked:

I just love abstracts — even if I'm the only one in the world who loves the abstracts that I do.

What I don't like in the picture:

Abstracts are a challenge for me because they have to be something I feel. What makes an abstract work could be just about anything — shape, texture, patterns, etc. In the one above, I love the oval, but there was something missing and I had a hard time figuring out what it was.

What I learned:

Perhaps this one escaped me because I am so strongly attracted to b/w photography from my youth. It wasn't until I realized the color was limiting my response to this image that I developed the version at left. The intensified colors in this version really speak to me. But then again, it may leave you scratching your head. That's the nature of abstracts. They either work or they don't — and there is no predicting why or how.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I'd love to print this one big. Just for fun.