Some of the books are great and I refer to them often to re-read key sections until they sink into my brain and I can make the concepts my own and put them to work for me in my own photography. Others are not so good, and get placed on an upper shelf and are rarely touched again.
I'm reading an excellent book right now called "Within The Frame" by David duChemin. If you're looking for a last minute holiday gift to tuck under the tree for your favorite photographer, then this is the book to get.
This is not a technical book about photography or technique, per se'. It's about the journey to finding your own photographic vision and achieving the kind of photography that you most enjoy.
Surely, this is a lofty goal for any book. Finding your photographic vision is an intensely personal journey that every enthusiastic photographer takes. How can a book help with this?
Stay with me for a few minutes on this topic.....
I'll tell you where many books of this nature fail. They use too many words. It's as simple as that. I've read books that, although they're good, are written by an author that takes forty sentences to complete one key thought. So what happens? Your brain gets totally lost in all the written words on the page and the concept that you're reading about floats right by without sinking in.
This is not the case with "Within The Frame". David duChemin writes with a down to earth style and states his key thoughts very succinctly. This makes the book easy to digest. He then uses supporting text and images to drive home his points. I use the word "supporting" intentionally. There's plenty to read in the book, but the key thoughts in each section of the book can be lifted out quite easily. Those points make you think about how you can apply the book to your photography, and that is precisely what a book of this type should achieve. It should make you think, not try to ram ideas down your throat.
David speaks early on in this book about some key thoughts:
- Passionate photography (duChemin says his goal for his image making is "Passionate stories told passionately").
- Chasing your vision and telling your stories as clearly and passionately as possible with compelling photography.
- Shooting what moves you.
- Making the viewer of your photos care.