There are few photographers that I find as stimulating and worth reading as David duChemin. A Vancouver-based “world and humanitarian photographer“, David founded Craft & Vision, a publisher of top-notch ebooks on – appropriately enough – the craft and vision of photography. In David’s view, craft is important, but “vision is better.” Which is the title of a series of three ebooks published by David and based on essays and tutorials from his website. David has just published volume 3 of the series. The three ebooks are a wonderful collection of essays and tutorials that are always thought-provoking, enjoyable, and instructive. David is a great teacher, and I find his philosophy about photography to be refreshing and thoughtful.
From the first book in the series:
Our most important photographic tools are not our cameras and lenses; they are our ability to see farther and deeper, to be curious, to engage the world and our craft with intention, curiosity, and passion. In short, it is not the camera between our hands that most matters, but what is between our ears. Want to create deeper images? Become a deeper photographer. The camera, it is said, looks both ways. Our images are only as good as our own perceptions, and that is a matter of thinking & being, not f/stops & shutter speeds.
Each edition includes, along with David’s essays and tutorials, a wealth of David’s excellent photography. Here are some samples from the recent volume 3.
Here is David in the most recent Volume 3.
Craft can only take any of us so far. Learn all there is to know about photography and the resulting photographs themselves may get Liked on Facebook but they’re unlikely to be art. Art, to be art, has to have something of the artist within. Art uses craft to say something, to point at something, and as often as not it says something about, and points back to, the artist. What we choose to photograph, and how, says as much about ourselves as it does about the things about which we make photographs.
Craft matters. The better our technique, and the more technical possibilities open to us, the more likely we are to take the expression of our intent into new places. But craft is no more than a foundation if you hope to create art. The real deal, as they say, lies not in our tools, but in the myriad and mysterious little pieces that together form our creativity.
And on Creativity …
Having never formally studied art, my creative is process is probably a little unsophisticated: I daily try to live the most vital, engaged, and interesting (to me) life I possibly can. Intentional. Passionate. Sensual. Simple. I draw the cleanest water from as many wells as I can find and listen to the most interesting voices. And I do as I please when I hear the muse begin to whisper. Sometimes that’s picking up a camera, sometimes it’s a notebook and pen. Sometimes it’s neither. But I act on it. Scribbles, drawings, or sketch images made with whatever camera I have on me. A great many very bad photographs have been made this way, but I don’t censor my images any more than I censor my ideas, because creating a good photograph is no different than creating a good idea: stop short of creating the bad ones and you’ll never see them lubricate the cogs that lead to the best ones.
But it’s not all philosophizing on the nature of photographic vision. Among the essays there are tutorials on such topics as post-processing, how to shoot better landscapes, tips for working in black-and-white, and how to use neutral density (ND) and graduated filters. Indeed, there is a wealth of concrete tips.
I realize that all of the above images are landscapes. Lest you think all (or even most) of David’s work consists of landscapes, Volume 3 includes other recent work such as this…
And one of my favorites …
What do you think of David’s philosophy about photography?