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:

The carved wall decoration was fantastic. Love the dragon.

What I don't like in the picture:

As a photograph, it's kind of plain. Not all that exciting.

What I learned:

Photograph it anyway. You never know how it might become useful in unexpected ways. In this case, I needed a graphic for all my chapbooks that are from China (The Middle Kingdom). The wall decoration fit the bill perfectly. Here you can see it on the title page of the chapbook. Longquan Swords.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Maybe I should make the graphic in color?