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:

Sometimes the Chinese have a quirky sense of fun. It was 17°that morning, so I don't really think we needed umbrellas to protect us from the sun. Really.

What I don't like in the picture:

I was trying to get the one in front to be centered and have all the others recede, but it doesn't work.

What I learned:

Just around the corner, I found a better composition between the cart, the umbrella, and the sand sculpture behind them. Why is there a jail on the cart? No idea, but it works in the composition to fill the bottom half of the frame.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I really need to ask some of my Chinese friends what this is all about.