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:

More from the Badlands of South Dakota.

What I don't like in the picture:

The shape of the peak is interesting in the one above, but the sky is just blue. Not a cloud in sight. I suppose I could do a Sky Replacement, but I like the one at left better.

What I learned:

Is an image like this about shape or about texture? Maybe both, but in my mind it's more about the texture. I don't mind losing the peak in exchange for that visceral and sensual dirt.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I think I want to try to bring back just a touch in the shadows.