Within the Frame, The Journey of Photographic Vision
Author: David duChemin
Publisher: New Riders
This book is, quite simply, the best non-technical photographic book I have ever read! OK, I have not read them all so cannot compare with every book published about photography, so why do I like this one? Many reasons, but it is not a pretentious book of philosophical thoughts about the inner meanings of creating good photographs. Nor is it (yet another) book about technical settings or camera equipment choices. The book is a discussion about how to consider your subjects in order that the resultant images convey your vision. It also invites you into that discussion by provoking thought whilst reading or joining in electronically via his blog or a flickr group.
Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of David duChemin and his work. I literally stumbled across him while listening to a This Week in Photography podcast that contained an interview with him. He sounded interesting and just for once I checked the show notes on line and followed links to his website, blog and photographs. I was blown away by his photographs and many are of course included in the book. Even if you were to buy the book and never read the text, be sure to study the photographs!
He describes himself as a humanitarian photographer and his photographs are sensitive, compelling and intriguing. Many tell a story without any words. Some contain humour, but what is consistent is the way they reach out and invite you into the photograph, to join in with the person/people and/or place. The book is a discussion on how to make photographs more compelling and how to work with the subject. This is not about rules or even breaking them, but how to build a relationship with the subject that allows the photographer to express the vision better. Topics covered include storytelling, photographing people, places and culture.
If you want a book about technology, software, lens choices or backpacks, go someplace else. If you want a good read that will inspire and help to think about what your vision is and making your photographs, it's this book. This is a book I will certainly read again, look at again and I would be very happy to see and read another from this author - and David, if you read this, I'll happily review the next one!