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:

Old bathtubs. I once lived in a condo that had a claw-footed bathtub. Fond memories of some long soaks.

What I don't like in the picture:

The tub above is a nice oval, but the walls are distracting. Maybe I should crop it?

What I learned:

But as Carl Chiarenza says, "Pictures come from pictures." When I saw this old tub at left from a Gilded Age historic home, I knew this was the image I had hoped for in the above. Lots of rectifying in the image at left creates a little distortion of the fixtures, but I'll take that in exchange for the straight walls.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Run the hot water and hop in.