Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Within The Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision

I was very fortunate to win a load of Amazon Vouchers in a photographic contest and so I now have a big stack of books to read and review, that I might otherwise not have. One book that was recommended to me was Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision by David Du Chemin. The book is from the same stable as Joe McNally's Hot Shoe Diaries and had a foreward from the man himself. So I was expecting the book to be good and I wasn't disappointed.

David du Chemin is an award winning travel photographer based in Vancouver and he has worked all over the world producing exquisite photographs, many of which are included in this book. In his introduction David says Within the Frame isn't a book about travel photography, but there is a strong bias towards travel photography, so much so that you would think that's what its all about. But really the book is about photographic vision and the ideas are transferable to photography closer to home. In fact if you apply David's concepts closer to home, you might find that you will look at the place where you live in a completely different way.

One thing that is really refreshing for me about this book is that it doesn't go over the technical aspects of photography in great detail, f-stops and focal lengths are touched on very lightly, only as a means of achieving a specific photographic vision, I think most people who would buy a book like this would already have got beyond the stage of wanting to know how a camera works or what equipment to buy.

What the book does give you, is real practical advice on how to tell a story with a picture. How to put together a photo-essay and communicate ideas. There are little mental exercises he gives you that will help to sharpen your vision before you even step out of the door. One thing that really resonated with me was his advice to get lost. I can attest to the validity of the piece of advice. My project last year to walk every street within a mile of my workplace led me to some interesting locations and I probably would not be reviewing this book right now if I hadn't, because one of the images that won me the Amazon Vouchers came out of that project.

Its a great little book that I think really needs digesting over more than one session. Not because its hard to read, on the contrary, it has an easy conversational style. You'll want to read it over again because there is so much in it. The pictures in it are really lovely too. To me its a great companion to Martin Freeman's The Photographers Eye, which in many ways is a bit geeky telling you how vision works. Whereas Within The Frame tells you how to expand your inner vision. I would recommend Within The Frame to anyone.

You can see more of David's Images and read his blog at www.pixelatedimage.com


  1. Nice review. Are you on commission, as I'm tempted!


  2. Thanks A cheeky question, but worth asking :)

    I do get a commission on books that people buy through the links but the reviews are my honest opinion. My reviews tend to be far more critical than you might see on amazon. In fact the next book that I'm reading now is likely to get a less than complementary review unless its picks up in the second half it astonishes me that it got a 5 star review on Amazon.

    FWIW I got paid my commission from Amazon yesterday just over £30 for one and a half years work. So you might say I'm motivated by more than just commission :)

  3. Like the review, which I thought was honest, so will probably buy the book. I am envious as I would like to earn a few pennies from critiques.
    A working photographer must gleaglea where he can

  4. Trust me, you would earn more from working on your marketing. Unless you have a ton of traffic, you'll only earn a quid or two from each review. Its less than minimum wage. But if you like writing reviews its a nice bonus