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:

I first photographed the Paulina obsidian butte in the late 1970s on b/w film. The images didn't work, but they planted a seed.

What I don't like in the picture:

Returning in 2018, I first tried to improve on my earlier failures by making more b/w images from the 2018 captures. They are ok, but not great.

What I learned:

After an initial disappointment, I went back to the color RAW files and realized I needed to let go of those film versions. The colors were out of this world!

2nd Chances: What I might try next

This ended up being a project in Kokoro titled, Cosmic Jackrabbit Samurai Warrior.