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've use this image at left before. Let me make a different point here.

What I don't like in the picture:

In the above, the moss-covered boulders are intended to be a background. Unfortunately, the color of the leaves in the tree blend too closely to the moss for there to be any attempt at separating them. This is supposed to be a picture of the tree, but ends up just being a yellow-green mess.

What I learned:

Nonetheless, I did realize that the rocks could be an image all on their own. Some seven years later, I came across the boulder field at left and remembered this picture idea. Precisely what I mean when I say that even our failures have the ability to teach us.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I keep wondering if the left image should be b/w. Guess I won't know until I try it.