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:

Big ass ships, I tell you.

What I don't like in the picture:

I knew how big these ship were because I was walking under them and photographing them from every angle. In the image above, however, you would have no idea of their size other than the intellectual calculation based on the waterline marks on the side.

What I learned:

Image comparisons are more persuasive than math. In the composition at left, I included a couple of the workers. Now the ship seems huge. Scale is often a challenging thing to include in an image, yet without an understanding of the scale, the image fails.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Maybe I should clone out that wire across the top of the image.