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Do I really need to introduce David duChemin? Canadian assignment photographer, author and workshop leader, David’s main focus has been humanitarian projects. He has written several truly inspiring books and leads photography workshops in such exotic locations as Laos and Ethiopia.
Photographically Speaking is the fourth book of the Vision trilogy… No, it’s not a typo – it is indeed the fourth in a trilogy. Readers of this series will understand that. And new readers will quickly see how well this title stands on its own.
In this new book, the author uses the metaphor of written language to deliver his message about the expression of intent in photography. You will be immediately engaged by David’s humor and skillful writing style.
There are three sections in Photographically Speaking. The first “The Photographer’s Intent” addresses what you decide to include in your frame and why. What you choose should mean something to you, or be left out. As David puts it “Intent matters. It is the prime mover. Without it, we are engaging in little more than accidentally exposing light to film or a sensor.” In this section you will learn how the subject, the subject matter and the composition each give meaning to your photograph which is your story. You will understand how the frame, or rather the selection of items you choose to be in the frame, matters to the two dimensional expression of your story. After that, interpretation is up to the ‘reader’.
Part two “Visual Language” is all about elements and decisions. Like a writer uses words and grammar to tell a story, photographers will use the elements available in a scene and make decisions to create a story in a frame. The author shows us how photographic elements such as lines, repetitions, color and light, when combined with the choice of optics and settings available, can be arranged to express our vision.
Each new concept in the book is followed by an invitation to participate in creative exercises.
Lastly, in “20 Photographs,” David duChemin challenges the reader to start a conversation about a selection of images. The point of the exercise is to use what you’ve learned in the book and try to analyze the photographs. As you ‘read’ his images, try to express what you see and feel, and understand what the photograph is about and the photographer’s intent. Then compare your evaluation with the author’s.
If you are new to photography and have some basic skills, I would encourage you to read this book so you train yourself to shoot with intent early on. If you are more experienced and photography has been a life-long pursuit and passion, Photographically Speaking will inspire you to look at your images in a different way. No matter which you are, these techniques can help you reach that beautiful space that David describes this way, “Become more mindful of what you want to say and then practice your craft relentlessly so that you have the growing means with which to say those things, and you’ll be working in that beautiful space where vision and craft collide and, in the mash-up, create expression: art.”
If you don’t have the luxury of participating in one of David’s workshops, reading Photographically Speaking could be the next best thing. Enjoy!
Photographically Speaking ~ A Deeper Look At Creating Stronger Images is a New Riders publication and is available at your local bookstore or on Amazon.