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:

Snowing day at the shipyard. Love that the falling snow can be seen against the dark hull of the ship.

What I don't like in the picture:

The first attempt above has a nice diagonal in the composition, but is too "loosely composed." Everything kind of leaks out of that upper right corner.

What I learned:

It's amazing how many times my images get stronger when I move closer and crop in. The one at left has all the components I wanted without that loose composition.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

All I need is another snowy day like this and I might be able to put together a Seeing in SIXES type project. Five more to go!