Updated: Oct 30, 2018
By David duChemin
If you've not read any of David duChemin's books, than you need to put down what you're reading and pick one up -- any one! Every one of David's books that I pick up is photographically mind blowing!
I'm going to review the e-bookThe Photographic Story here, but that's only because it's the one that I've read most recently. If you've read a bit of PhotoYoga, you may know already that I'm a big fan of David's. One of my first reviews was for the book that I think of as my photographic bible Within the Frame (read my review).
I'm in David's mentoring class The Traveling Lens. He has three mentoring classes that open periodically for enrollment. I'm going through the course slowly because every video is practically life changing when it comes to my photography. As part of the course, David had us read his e-book The Photographic Story.
The Photographic Story is about telling a story through your photographs.
This isn't the first time I've heard that my travel photos should tell a story. This is almost a mantra for travel and street photographers. But how this is done is a bit elusive. If I capture a story in my photograph, I can see it and I can see that this photograph is better than a photograph where there isn't much of a story, but I can only really see this in hindsight.
In this book, David deconstructs what it means to tell a story in one image and in a series of images. He outlines how the viewer of the photograph reads the story into the photo and the role of imagination. This book helped me to see exactly what I can do to improve my storytelling. David walks us through where to find stories as well as what to include and exclude to strengthen the story.
Throughout the book he includes his own photos for us to practice seeing providing lots of questions to guide our attention. Then he sends us to our own collections of photos with still more questions such as:
Which images have a strong sense of place?
What visual cues give them that sense of place?
Could you have made those cues even stronger?
Would that have helped the story?
Is the connection between the place and the characters clear?
Does the setting act in some ways as a character?
The e-book may be short (45 pages), but the content is deep and if you take the time to do the exercises provided, it can function as a full course.
There is an accompanying 40 minute video to the book which furthers the content.The video is a true extension of the topic. In the video, David talks though a number of "case studies" - photos of his that show story. I found the photo series especially informative. The series were taken of one scene within a matter of minutes. By comparing and contrasting the stories that are implied in each photo, he draws me into the varying decisions that are made when photographing a story.
David is a true storyteller through his photographs, but what makes his books and videos so valuable is his ability to talk about what he does in way that is concrete enough that we can all see into his thought process. He gives us insight into his thinking and gives us ways to apply this to our own photos.
I'm a travel photographer, but his principles apply much more broadly.
If you want to get a flavor for David's philosophy, he has a few free e-books and videos available on his website including 20 Ways to Make Better Photographs Without Buying Any More Gear and 10 Mantras (you can see why I like David, his philosophy fits right into PhotoYoga!)
As I mentioned, I'm in David's online mentoring class. If you're interested, make sure you're signed up for his newsletter on his website and are on the waitlist. The courses only open a few times a year. Creativelive also has one of David's courses available for enrollment
Article Written by Jennifer Mishra
Jennifer Mishra is an American travel photographer born in Colorado and based in the St. Louis metro area. She has a background in classical music and academia. She is the founder of PhotoYoga. Her photos are published at Wits End Photography or follow her on Facebook or Instagram.
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