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 capture

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What I saw that I liked:

Shiny mud is so seductive!

What I don't like in the picture:

The one above might be ok if I did a little work to bring out some shadow tones, but it doesn't thrill me.

What I learned:

Again (for the bazillionth time, "it's not what you take, it's what you make that counts." The one at left is a great example of what I call PBPA — Photography By Pooping Around. I just started playing and ended up with a sort of abstract pano that I really like. I don't know if I'll ever use it, but I definitely see more potential in the one at left than I do with the more "straight" photograph above.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I need to spend more time in the mud. I just love the tones that come out of wet mud at low tide.