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.

Click on the image to see it larger

Previous image  |  Next image

Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

What I saw that I liked:

Japanese carved stone and plant.

What I don't like in the picture:

But where to put the emphasis — on the stone carving or on the plant?

What I learned:

Both of these are correct, but they accomplish different things. The one above is clearly about the plant and the stone is just a backdrop. In the image at left, the subject is the stone and the plant adds mood. I would suggest that you can't decide which of these is a better image until you know the context within which it will be seen.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Should I intensify the yellow in the one above?