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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What I saw that I liked:

The shipyard across the street was raising this gigantic section of steel flooring to the deck of the ship under construction.

What I don't like in the picture:

Damn telephone pole is in the way and ruining my shot.

What I learned:

Then again, maybe the telephone pole is the shot. Just because Object A is the focus of our attention at the moment doesn't mean we can't sneak in an interesting shot of Object B. I guess. Isn't it interesting how my supposed "intended subject" makes a great background for my "discovered subject."

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I think this one might have a home in a project I've just starting to think about — "Distribution of Power."