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:

Obviously, the statues.

What I don't like in the picture:

With this overall wide-angle composition, these statues are things. But if I were to place myself in exactly the perfect position . . .

What I learned:

. . . they look me right in the eyes and become people. It was creepy, but emotionally powerful. I ended up doing a small project with about 20 of these statues from the Art Institute of Chicago, each one looking directly into the camera lens. When we look directly into their gase, the marble and stone comes to life.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

It would be interesting to make lifesize prints of these — which at this point, I still haven't done.