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 Met in NYC.

What I don't like in the picture:

The Met is more than a building. It's a place where people go to encounter art. So why did I make an image of the place that shows neither the people nor the art?

What I learned:

Be patient, Brooks. Someone will come along and add the people element to this composition.

Be smarter, Brooks, and use a fast enough shutter speed to get a sharp image of her. Why I thought it was a good idea to make this at 1/30th of a second, I'll never know. Geez.

That said, I do like the metaphor of an individual climbing up the stairs of knowledge and understanding at the Museum. I hope I'm not reading too much into this.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Come to think of it, maybe this would have been better if I'd shot it at 1/4th of a second and blurred her even more. Something to try next time.