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:


What I learned:

In LensWork #24 (Feb - Apr 1999), the late Michael A. Smith contributed a portfoiio with an interesting concept. He said in his introduction, "I have always felt that it is how one sees rather than what one sees that makes any photograph interesting."

These two images illustrate his point. Completely different subjects, but how can we insist that the fireworks from 2017 didn't influence how I saw the pine needles in 2020?

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Is this the seed for a project of pairs that are visually similar like these two? Hmmmmm . . .