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 captures

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What I saw that I liked:

I have no excuses. I am just not a wildlife photographer. I'm not even a deadlife photographer.

What I don't like in the picture:

There are experts and then there are us amateurs. I'm pretty good at some kinds of photography, but clearly this is not my strong suit.

What I learned:

Let go; have fun; give in; be willing to laugh at yourself. We can't be good at every kind of photography and those who pursue a specialty are simply going to develop skills that we don't have. That doesn't mean we can't just have fun if we don't take ourselves too seriously.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I suppose if I really wanted to pursue this kind of photography, I'd be well served to take a workshop. I'm a big believer in workshops. Learn in person from those who do it successfully. Way better than YouTube. I wonder who might teach a workshop in photographing dead snakes?