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:

Fallen leaves are so metaphorical. They just beg us to photograph them.

What I don't like in the picture:

The one above is okay, I guess. I'm never crazy about centered subjects, but clearly I'm sometimes seduced in it.

What I learned:

The other compositional aspect that is easily seen in these two photographs has to do with my fundamental proposal that photography is (or should be) about relationships. In a way, both of these illustrate this. The one above is about loneliness and isolation (the lack of relationship) and the one at left is almost a romance. The shy colored leaf seem provocatively close to the more direct and pursuing monochromatic leaf. (Or perhaps it's been too long a time since I was out on a date.)

2nd Chances: What I might try next

A project about leaf relationships?