May 15, 2009

Within the Frame


This is not an in-depth review of Within the Frame. I’ll leave that to our regular book reviewer, Conrad. I wanted to chime in with a mini-review on some of the important messages I took away from reading the book.

Photojournalist Steve Simon has a saying. “Go an inch wide and a mile deep.” That perfectly described the approach that David duChemin took in this book.

I read it in two days. I was completely consumed by this book. I only discovered David’s incredible blog a few months ago. The Pixelated Image blog is full of great writing, so I wasn’t surprised to find his book was also great. What did surprise me was how deep David could go on the subject of VISION without losing me. I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy. But David’s words still resonated with me.

Those who are looking for a camera/lens/shutter speed formula book will be disappointed in Within the Frame. It’s not that book. Instead, it’s a book that invites you – even asks you – to stop and think about vision.

Gear is good – vision is better.

This sums up where David is coming from. We need to spend more time talking about the why rather than the how. This book starts that conversation. It’s deep but accessible. It’s poignent but fun.

David manages to cover lots of photography-related subjects like zoom lenses and the rule of thirds, but he does it in the context of vision. The reader gets the feeling that this book was written for the soul – not the camera bag.

I am going to re-read the book several times. I need this message. David’s commitment to storytelling as a photographer matches my own. What’s different is that he can articulate it better than I can. In fact, about half way into the book, I realized, this is the book I’ve always wanted to write, but didn’t have the chops to write.

Whether this book will be the commercial success it should be, nobody can predict. I hope so. Unfortunately, the hunger for knowing “which camera” is strong because that’s an easier question than “why?”

Either way, I think David’s name is on a trajectory that puts him right up there with the likes of Vincent Versace and Joe McNally, both of whom contributed to the front and back matter of the book.

If you are serious about your photography, instead of budgeting for your new lens, you’ll take some of that money and go buy this book. Why? Well let me tell you how it impacted me.

I’m going to revisit how I can go even deeper with my subjects – I’m going to simplify my approach – I’m going to spend more time telling my subject’s stories with my camera – and I’m going to hope that someday I can talk about photographic vision as well as David can. That’s why.


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Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. […] book was written for the soul – not the camera bag.” Das ist mal n Satz, oder? Über diese Rezension bin ich auf das Buch Within The Frame aufmerksam geworden welches ich definitiv lesen […]

  2. […] photo above is my copy of Within The Frame. Here is a mini review. Just looking through this book makes me want to read it […]

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