Vision and Voice by David DuChemin [Book Review]

Vision and Voice by David DuChemin [Book Review]

VisionVoice-Cover.jpegI want to begin this review by stating that David DuChemin is one of my favorite photographic authors. His previous books, including “Within the Frame” and “Photographically Speaking” take photographers through the mental side of creating a photograph. Both books are dynamic, but “Vision and Voice” is a different breed of photography books altogether.

I must also confess that, although a photographer, I have a very short attention span for technical “how to” books on editing. I am sure a number of readers may also identify with this mindset. I typically will profit 10x more from a short tutorial than an entire book on technical editing. Books on editing rarely hold my attention.

Vision and Voice is a book written for photographers like myself.

If you want to learn more about the art of creating an image as a whole, from it’s capture in your mind and lens, to it’s final touch up in the digital darkroom, Vision and Voice is perfectly suited for you.

DuChemin guides you through the “art” of creation in several parts. First, he speaks of your personal vision for your art. He asks you questions to ponder on what makes your style uniquely you, or how to determine what you want your images to “say”.

Using 40 examples from his own work, DuChemin walks the reader through the entire process of his creation. Starting with his vision for the image and what he wanted to achieve with the piece as a whole, he provides a visual example of each step he took in the Lightroom editing process. This unique perspective provides us with a dynamic tutorial both interesting and enlightening. In my opinion, DuChemin could have written a book soley on this body of work. But in the effort to be thorough, DuChemin adds several other parts to his book to complete the work.

How does a photographer create a workflow based on vision? DuChemin explains this with separating “intention”, “aesthetics” and “process”, and I appreciate the clarification of both. For the Lightroom newbie, DuChemin’s 6th chapter is an uncomplicated tour of the Develop Module; for the experienced Lightroom user, it is a surprisingly comprehensive guide to tools unknown and unused.

His book, Vision and Voice is a refreshing, and dynamic addition to every photographer’s bookshelf (it is also currently 38% off at Amazon).

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Christina N Dickson is a visionary artist and philanthropist in Portland Oregon. Her work includes wedding photography and leadership with

Some Older Comments

  • Allan Cox March 28, 2012 12:50 pm

    In a word, no. I was commenting on the main article about the author David DuChemin. I hadn’t actually read your post. Sorry.

  • Paul March 25, 2012 06:24 am

    Thanks for this, always looking for new titles to read :)

  • Julie March 23, 2012 11:41 am

    I love David duChemin. I love the way he writes, I love his photography and well, he just inspires me to quit my day job and head out with my camera! I am just finishing up Within the Frame and about to read Vision Mongers and Photographically Speaking. I will add Vision and Voice to the list. My only regret with David is he switched from Canon to Nikon. ;) And he is a Canadian too! :)

  • naz March 23, 2012 08:10 am

    Allen, are you talkign abotu Adam Marelli? If so, He can be found on flickr for soem of his photos- he does practice what he teaches and what he has learned from the classes he took teaching hte rules of composition- The principles of composition will immediately and markedly improve our photos once we learn how to utilize them in scenes- then comes learnign things like light, time of day, position to the sun, placement of aid lights for portraits if that;s what youl ike, proper color control, leanrign to see tone and values etc etc etc- there';s a LOT that goes into to leanring photography and art- I hasven't foudn too many teachers that go into the necessary teachigns or who at best, just gloss over things like composition with very vague references to 'rule of thirds, or 'golden section rules' etc, or who just touch on color and never explore how color can really add impact when done properly- etc etc

    Adam Marelli's site is abotu hte only one I've run across that does a thorough breakdown of classic photos and explains WHY they were so succesful using compositional grids to hsow how they utilized proven compositional truhs to make hteir photos masterpieces- and I've certainly not run across a book that goes into such detaield explanations- perhaps David';s book does- I don'
    t know

  • Allan Cox March 23, 2012 07:35 am

    Yes, but what are his photographs like???? I’ve learnt from experience that the only way to tell who the good photographers are is by their photos. There are an awful lot of people out there who think they can teach you how to take better photos yet can’t take a decent photo themselves. Show me the money!!! Or in this case the photos. :-)

  • naz March 23, 2012 03:08 am

    [[He asks you questions to ponder on what makes your style uniquely you, or how to determine what you want your images to “say”.


    S he asks an amature to ask themslef what makes their 'style' unique? An amature has a 'style'? Incorrect composition because the amature hasn't been trained how to properly compose photos? (think of all the amature photos where subjects fall smack in the middle, have theirl imbs cut off at joints, are unbalanced etc etc etc) Bad lighting because the amature hasn't been trained how to properly light different subjects?

    'Ask yourself what you want this photo to say' Response from amature 'How the Heck should I know? I havwen't got a clue how to compose, light,arrange, or position myself for the best shot- I want it to 'say' 'bird' but HOW!!!!!'

    About hte book- Does David break down his photos and explain how his pghotos are arranged? What angle he positions himself in for the best shot of a scene, and WHY he is choosing those angles based on proven compositional techniques? Does he expalin the differences in lgiht and how different light affects a scene and can make or break the shjot? Does he go into howe the masters arranged their photos on proven root 4 diagonals? (as well as sinister diagonals, and the 1.5 rectangle? and how to avoid notional space mistakes qwhere subjects seem to merge with background horizontal or vertical lines? Does he describe the 1.5 rectangle and WHY it's important to photography? The masters of photography all KNEW these 'photography secrets' and hteir photography stood above the rest- well above the rest- Soem photographers today perhaps have intiutive sense of composition but don't know why they arrange their photos the way they do and can't explain to others HOW to arrange the photos- and come away with 'instructional books' that are so vague as to be practuically useless to an amature- I'm not sdaying David's book does this, I don't know if it does or not- but if He's NOT explaining his photos by showing overlay compositional guidelines like hte 1.5 rectangle, or root 4 or some other compositional aids, then the average amature will be no further ahead than beforwe they bought the book

    I'm asure he's got beautiful photos, and probably goes into detail on how to process the photos after- but unless he takes one of his photos and breaks it down, and explains WHY the same of photo of hte scene 50 feet to the left would NOT have worked, and shown with diagrams WHY the succesful photos DO work, then I'd be hesitant ot buy hte book-

    Good design CAN be taught, and studying hte diagrams and breakdowns of the old masters photos reveals why proper composition is so important to hte success of a photo- Henri Carier Bresson stressed 'banging' the shutter AFTER all the important elements of a scene were carefully arranged and inplace BEFORE the subject hit their 'mark' in the scene- And IF you'll go through his photos, you will see his subjects were always on the 'mark' in hte scene. He didn't just go out and start clicking away hoping that one or 2 photos 'might' work out- He carefully arranged his photos just so so that they would be masterpieces-

    I can't remember which photo master said it, but it went somethign like "12 significant photos in a year? I'd say that was pretty good" or soemthign liek that- but you get the idea- I do however beleive much more can be taken when we begin to understand how to properly arrange our photos and to WAIT for the right moments to bang the shutter.

    I don't mean to pick on David's or anyones book for that matter, but I've wasted a lot of money on books by professionals that have all been rather useless except as beuatiful coffee table books- NONE of them have discussed in detail HOW to take a photo so that hte composition is correct- Forget the '1/3 rule' or even the goden section rule- learn the diagonals and rectangles from a site like if you really want to know how to arrange a succesful photo liek htem asters knew how to- go through hte articles- they will imediately improve your composition once you begin to understand how the photo compositions of hte masters were laid out-

  • Metallion58 March 20, 2012 02:07 pm

    I must agree with almost everything you say. David is a great photo writer and takes us to places we never thought of going. But I must correct one little detail. "Photographically Speaking" isn't a previous book but his most recent one.

  • glors March 20, 2012 05:57 am

    this book is great, it's the best fotography book i've ever bought. Since the fist page you want to read more and more and more, and also, you are looking forward to going out for taking pictures and star processing them. I highly recommend it

  • Jeff March 19, 2012 01:36 pm

    This book is on the Safari bookshelf, for those that do that...

  • Alexx March 19, 2012 03:56 am

    Looks good!

    I myself plan on releasing an ebook sometime.

  • Monica March 19, 2012 03:13 am

    I will definitely be picking this up in the next few weeks. Thanks!