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:

A grass wildfire burn in eastern Washington.

What I don't like in the picture:

The one above shows the burn, but there is nothing to compare the burned areas to any non-burnt areas.

What I learned:

The composition at left does a much better job of showing a comparison. Photography is about relationships — A compared to B. Not a bad thing to keep in mind at all times, but in a simple image like this one, such a comparison is the essence of the image.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I think maybe the one at left could be brightened up just a bit.