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:

As cliche as it is, I still love peeling paint surfaces. Guess I'm stuck in the 1970s.

What I don't like in the picture:

The door is just a door.

What I learned:

Because I love abstracts, I'm comforted by the thought that I can find them anywhere. The version at left is still a door and can be recognized as such because of the metallic circle on the right edge. But I'll bet you didn't see that until I pointed it out. By moving a little closer and recomposing for an abstract, the image changes entirely. Another reason why I love abstracts.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I really need to try this as b/w.