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:

The exuberance of childhood on this river path in Lishui, China.

What I don't like in the picture:

The above was exposed just a few seconds apart from the one at left. These are both "real" exposures — that is to say, I haven't removed the girl in the one above nor have I added the girl in the one below.

What I learned:

Why do I make a point of this? Well, with the introduction of Adobe's new Generative Fill tool (in the (currently beta version) in Photoshop, either of these images could be totally fake. And how would you know? And why should you care? Somehow, I think you should and I think the very fact that either of these could be fake adds an element of trickery that I'm not comfortable with. But maybe that's just me.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Perhaps this image would be better artwork if I used Generative Fill to add some flying monkeys to the scene? Or Elvis on a unicorn?