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:

At the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York.

What I don't like in the picture:

This was an interesting lesson. I went just to see if there would be anything to photograph. I was immediately captivated by the statuary. After I had about 40 statue pictures, I realized I had fallen into an old habit of make a "catalog of images." One or two might be interesting, but 40 of them? Boring.

What I learned:

And then I got to looking at the old trees. The words, "Cemetery Landscapes" popped into my head. I spent the rest of the day photographing landscapes that just happen to have cemetery monuments instead of boulders and rocks. Therein lies a potential project.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I'm still yet to decide if this is better as color or b/w.