Book Review: Within the Frame

Click Here to Order Within the Frame by David duCheminWhen I set a goal this year to read a photography book every month, I thought I would alternate between a hard-core technique type of book and an inspirational one.  This has proven to be both a good idea and one, in which, I will need to review in the future.  The reason?  I am finding the inspirational books require more time to absorb the ideas being presented.  Such is the case with David duChemin’s Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision.  You will find a short chapter on the photographic equipment David uses and why.  Once that is done, get ready to enjoy how David sees the world and how you can see your own differently.

Within the Frame goes around the globe with David duChemin’s amazing photographs he uses to illustrate his points in the chapters on storytelling and photographing people, places and cultures.  Yet, this is not a book on travel photography but about a photographer who travels.  David reminds us throughout the narrative how the same principles, research and common sense he uses in India, Nepal, Africa, China and other far away locations can be done in our own neighborhoods.  For it is the concept of vision he returns to over and over again that is the key.  Vision knows no borders.

Practical advise is given on how to approach and photograph people.  What to look for to create photographs of people which shows more than a pretty smile, to capture the emotion and character behind the smile.  This is one aspect of my photography I need to work on.  From reading this book, listening to Art Wolfe at and my own experiences, Western countries are harder to photograph people but not impossible.  Just takes a little more effort.

Over the last three weeks, the photos I have shared on the blog have been influenced by my reading of Within the Frame.  Taking more time to see and think of Click to read View 122: Visiting with Lincolnwhat I wanted to convey in the frame of the photographs.   Though it is a statue, the photos of Abraham Lincoln on the Syracuse University campus showed me I was on the right track.  Someday I will take what I learned from the statue to photograph real people with the same kind of mindset of showing the emotion and character of a person, to tell his or her story.  If I can do it with bronze, I should be able to do with a living person, right?

Click to read Weeping WillowPhotographing a place is not that much different than people.  My evening in Liverpool was such a place.  I found parts of Liverpool’s community in Heid’s restaurant , a flower store and pub which give Liverpool an identity.  However, it was the weeping willows I found in a park which showed Liverpool as a tranquil place for people to relax and renew themselves.  It might not be what David duChemin would have seen but it is what I saw and felt as I walked around the village.  Though I did not get lost as David suggests doing when visiting a new location where every corner brings you new photographic adventures. Don’t worry, he does want you to carry your hotel’s business cards so you can get a cab to take you back.

Humans create culture.  We do it in our countries, cities, towns, and villages.  We now do it online on Facebook, Twitter and the millions of online forums.  How to photograph culture?  This is where research and observation come to play.  There are some underlying axioms of culture.  One is food, another is faith.  Both say a lot about a culture.  Art, music, language, festivals, history, heroes, sports and geography all combine to define a culture.  Learn about and seek them out.  You don’t have to be in Timbuktu to photograph culture.  For example, Syracuse, New York has a diverse culture with many ethnic festivals, local foods (how many of you have heard of salt potatoes?), a symphony, art gallery and the people who brave long winters and lake effect snow storms many people around the world shake their heads at.  I have been asked numerous times why anyone would live here?  This blog is my answer and you’ll find much of the culture of Syracuse within.

There is so much more to Within the Frame. There are many tips on how to do things interwoven with the lessons on vision, respect of others and cultures to bring back photographic stories both humane and human. David duChemin knows and is always working on his vision.  He understands it is a journey.  Before this year, I did not understand that fully. Now, I know I do. A journey that is never ending yet very satisfying to my spirit.

To read more about David duChemin’s vision philosophy in photography, visit his Craft & Vision eBook store by click the banner ad below.

Click Here to Shop for Craft & Vision eBooks


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27 Responses to Book Review: Within the Frame

  1. Dawn King says:

    Thanks for the book review. I’ve ordered it through my library. It looks fascinating! (I came over to your blog from Kathy’s northern Michigan blog.)


  2. Gerry says:

    Good morning, Scott! This post is a fine example of why I visit Views Infinitum all the time. Lots of sites feature fine photos. Fewer share the thinking behind the images, or broaden the presentation to discuss the context. I really appreciate that quality in your blog, and have learned a lot here.


  3. Deanna says:

    Great book review and thanks again for letting us know about CreativeLive. I really enjoyed Art Wolfe’s class. I can’t wait to try another.


  4. burstmode says:

    Very true, the inspirational books require much more time.


  5. So glad you posted the review today (almost told you yesterday to hurry up, because I’m NOT very patient… but then decided to keep my mouth shut 😉 )
    Sounds like a great book, and it will definitely go on my wish list.

    And yes, I HAVE heard of Salzkartoffeln (salt potatoes). My mom used to make them all the time!


  6. A very interesting read, Scott, thank you. A friend had just sent me two pages of Condé Magazine, I think, precisely about this book. With a few pictures. This approach is definitely something worth experimenting.


  7. truels says:

    Thank you Scott for introducing Within the Frame. And for sharing your thoughts and ideas on taking photographs – very inspiring for me – I will check if I can get thay book over here, and your post made me decide to begin reading photography books – I am already now on my library’s data-base 🙂


  8. davecandoit says:

    Great book review, Scott. I’ll probably pick it up at my local library, like others. I’ve got a handful of books I’m trying to find time to read right now, mostly on technique.


  9. Anna Surface says:

    Vision. I’m still integrating what my vision is as a photographer and artist as both my photography and art is developing and growing and merging. I’m missed out on Art Wolfe due to various emergencies that took place during those weeks. I was registered but didn’t have the time. Too bad as I really like Art Wolfe. I hope to see David duChemin, though, and I am looking forward to it. His book is on my list to get and read, and I would like to read more on vision-driven photography by the old masters as well as the new ones. Great informative post.


    • Anna, does offer the courses for a fee once they are done and some of the Art Wolfe sessions are still free to view. I am looking forward to David duChemin’s webinar, too. Should be a good one. Have always enjoyed your vision and it’s evolution over the last two years.


      • Anna Surface says:

        Yes, I’ve been in there at to view some of the still free courses and enjoyed them. There was one I watched, and not by Wolfe, about shutter speeds which was good. I am hoping to see David duChemin webinar. He has a new book coming out in June too. Thank you, Scott, for your comment. We are still very much evolving and it is challenging and fun. 🙂 As we learn, grow and create. I appreciate all the photography news, info, and reviews you provide too, Scott.


  10. pearlz says:

    A fantastic post, I like that idea of searching how to photograph culture. A lot of effort has gone into this post, both with reading and reviewing. Thankyou for sharing it.


  11. Jan Smith says:

    Thanks for this post Scott…it’s funny I was just in the bookstore a few days ago and looked at a few pages of this book. I’m going to go back and get it. It sounds like something that I will get a lot out of. I found your blog about it through Milkay Photography. Tracy put a note on a quote that I posted from this book that I thought was awesome.


  12. Nye says:

    Thanks for the review, I would love to read this book and will order a copy. I like to read the story, more than the technical aspect of photography, not the best way to learn though.


  13. flandrumhill says:

    Scott, the next time I photograph people, hopefully I’ll remember what I’ve read here. I’ve never thought about the how-tos of photographing culture before.


  14. Pingback: Holiday Gift Ideas for Photographers « Views Infinitum

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