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:

One of the most common tropes in literature is the tale of the journey. Think of Homer, the Canterbury Tales, Around the World in 80 Days, The Hobbit, or Apollo 13. They all start with a path, often a path i the woods.

What I don't like in the picture:

The above is a nice path in the woods, but it's a picture of the path. It's not experiential like one at left.

What I learned:

The one at left invites me to step on that lighter rock near the bottom. It's a picture of stairs step rock, but I'm in the picture, too, I almost want to step out.

In truth, that light step is a product of processing. in trying to get a little contrast and light into the image, I stumbled (no pun intended) on this aspect of the image. Makes me want to don my backpack and hiking staff and head uphill.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Thankfully, I shot a focus stack on this one so the entire line of steps is in focus.