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:

This dance performance was spectacular. My photography of it wasn't.

What I don't like in the picture:

The one above has a good color balance, but everyone looks like they are in a pose, not caught in mid-dance move.

What I learned:

Dance is movement and a photograph of dance should show that movement. At least most of the time it should. Unfortunately, the color balance in the image at left is awful and I can't seem to fix it no matter what I try. If it's not one thing, it's another. Amazing how many ways there are to screw up a photograph.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Maybe b/w?