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 learned:

Personally expressive fine art photography.

Same location in Custer National Park. Same day, same hour, same clouds, standing in almost the same spot. Two images that are so similar yet so different in their content and emotions. That's the thing about photography — it is far less about the subject or the scene than it is about how you see it and what you want to communicate. I have no doubt that if you had been standing next to me while I photographed, your images would be different than mine. Personally expressive. Yup that's the key.