No compromise is good. Right? I think of principled action, standing up against societal pressure or getting it right. I envision a movie plot where the hero sticks to his values whether it means winning or going down in a blaze of glory.
On the other side, compromise sounds like what committees do to get everyone comfortable, leading to a vague final statement that offends no one and does nothing.
When I think of no compromise in photography, my mind goes to excellence. I want to own no compromise in my photos! But the reality is that on most days I look at my photos and see areas to improve. Then I look at other photographers’ photos and find beauty. Even I can see a bit of an issue there!
The other day I stumbled upon a simple idea – perhaps every wildlife photo is a compromise. It stopped me in my tracks. You may be thinking that I’ve just crashed into the obvious … and you’re right. But you have to understand that sometimes I don’t give up my ideals easily. Maybe it happens more than I think.
I see a wild animal and inevitably there are issues to overcome such as pouring rain. I quickly make adjustments to capture the best photo I can. That sounds suspiciously like compromise.
If the photo will be a compromise, then I am freed to make the best photo I can under the circumstances. Somehow that perspective feels liberating and not about compromising in a bad way. It’s entirely possible for a photo to be beautiful and still have areas that could be improved. Maybe there’s even a life principle tucked away in there somewhere.
But just for the record, my movie heroes still aren’t going to compromise their principles. And maybe someday I get to take a wildlife photo where there is no compromise!