Friday, March 12, 2010

My Work Here is Done

"I walk and observe, watching for something that quickens my eye and heart."

David duChemin, Within the Frame, The Journey of Photographic Vision

I’m not hanging up on this blog. But I do want to advise you, if you’re really into photography, that there’s nothing I’ve ever said about photography in this blog, or probably ever will say, that isn’t said better and all in one place in Canadian photographer David duChemin’s book, Within the Frame, The Journey of Photographic Vision.

Once again I find myself wishing there’d been a book or instruction like this when I was first learning about photography forty years ago. The path of my life might have been very different.

There are references in duChemin’s book to ISO and shutter speed and aperture settings. But that’s not what this book is really about. Rather, this is a book about learning to open up to the photographic opportunities around you, approaching people on a one-to-one basis and taking a more thoughtful read of places. This isn’t the first book to tackle those subjects either. But duChemin’s friendly, practical and frank style of writing shows his understanding of the internal and external obstacles we sometimes face in the pursuit of the pictures we want.

As I read this book, I’ll admit it was a little discouraging to find my own thoughts articulated and illustrated far more clearly by someone else. On the other hand, reading this book was like a really good therapy session or like reading my own mind, only better organized. It was like discovering a new close friend, a kindred soul I didn’t know I had. I identified more with duChemin’s photographic journey than I have with that of any other photographer.

I don’t know Mr. duChemin. I’d never even heard of him until about six weeks ago. But I imagine there are two possible scenarios if we were ever to actually meet: 1) we’d either never stop talking or 2) having found so many intersections in our thinking, there’d be nothing left to talk about.

In any case, I encourage you to look up Within the Frame, The Journey of Photographic Vision. Its list price is $40, but you can find it cheaper at Amazon.

Or you can just stick around here and pick out the occasional moments of insight for free.


  1. Wow--sounds like a good book. I might have to get it for my son. I love the photo on the cover. I may look at it, but I can tell you, I probably will stick around for the moments. Thanks!

  2. I've had similar experiences in my realm. Inspired and discouraged at the same time. But keep it up--there's a case to be made for free advice.

  3. Thanks Chris. I have a feeling it will soon be sitting right next to Bird by Bird, within close reach at all times. But for me your blog does the same thing, in both realms, and has the added beauty that there's always a new chapter next time I log on!

  4. Chris, It sounds like a great book & I will look for it. But I confess it bothers me a little hearing you compare your own thoughts on photography to someone else's in anything like a negative light. For one thing, there's no competition. Why should there be? In any case your insights have always felt fresh to me. Then too your posts never struck me as particularly concerned about sticking to a photography agenda. They have the grace to go wherever they need to, which is one of the things I like about them -- & your photos too.