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VisionMongers: Making a Life and a Living in Photography 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321670205
ISBN-10: 0321670205
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David duChemin is an assignment photographer specializing in humanitarian projects and world photography. A passionate contributor to the international photography community, duChemin's first book, Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision, received worldwide acclaim for its vision, passion, and depth. Find David online at Pixelatedimage.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (November 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321670205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321670205
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Conrad J. Obregon VINE VOICE on November 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
David duChemin's "Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision" was a great hit with many photographers, engaging difficult subjects to write about, vision and creativity. Based on the success of his first book I was eager to read this volume.

In it the author approaches some basic questions about making a career in photography from his own perspective as a person who has chosen to make his career mainly doing work for non-governmental organizations. He explains the necessity for being true to oneself as a professional, to work hard, to market, to overdeliver to customers, and even to rely on written contracts. He also discusses the ethics of the profession and financial objectives to keep in mind. The author relies upon anecdotes and episodes from his own career to make his points, as well as the biographies of several other successful photographers that demonstrate how they became successful. For a subject that could easily lapse into being pedantic, duChemin has a certain charming style. For the young photographer, with little experience of the career world, this book may be a good place to start if he or she has an inkling that he or she might want to follow photography as a profession, although it may also prove appropriately discouraging. On the other hand, some photographers with more experience of the world and opinions about how it works may find the book too fundamental and optimistic.

Unlike hard subject books, like exposure, soft subjects like following a career path are difficult to write. Occasionally, it felt like the author was delivering a sermon, or perhaps an inspirational speech.
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Format: Paperback
First of all, I am not the target market for this book. This book is written for the enthusiast who is considering going pro and doesn't have a step-by-step plan to make it happen. If that's you, this book is a must read. If instead you're looking for ways to improve your photography, look elsewhere, like duChemin's soon-to-be-classic "Within the Frame." In spite of being "off target" for me, I couldn't put this book down and read it cover-to-cover in just a few days. This speaks well of duChemin's writing and sense of pace.

If one were to look at the book for flaws, there are two that come to my mind. First, the pictures are "thrown in" with no context. A brief caption with a little background story could help a lot, as could some technical data. Pictures don't always tell the whole story, and for most of the pictures included, the story is exactly what is missing. The pictures do little more than show that duChemin is capable of great photography.

The second complaint is a more serious one, in that duChemin uses a lot of pop-culture shorthand to get points across. References to "Dead Poets Society" abound, so viewing that may be a prerequisite. But in writing about creativity, one should be able to come up with creative ways to express things rather than rely on the crutch of what has come before.

None of this should take away from reading the book, however. In spite of these relatively minor flaws, duChemin shares a lot of the secrets of success - mostly that there are no secrets or shortcuts that will make you successful. Hard work, consistency, and good business practices (mixed in with timing and luck) will get you there. The book assumes you're already good, and that you're willing to work to get better.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David duChemin has it figured out and he's not afraid to tell you the secret. In his new book, VisionMongers: Making a Life and a Living in Photography, he leads us down the path a budding amateur photographer can expect to trod in order to turn his/her passion into a successful vocation.

David (not Dave) lays it out plainly and simply that being a professional is not for everyone. It's not just about being talented, original, or well-versed in your craft. It's not even enough to be passionate about what you do--though that's a big contributing factor to success. It's about hard work and paying attention to the business side as much as to the craft of photography. That may mean finding the right people to do some things for you (marketing, finances, legal, etc.), but they have to be done. While scaring the crap out of you (but nicely), he talks about his own path to photography as a vocation and interspersed throughout the book, he describes the journeys of several pro photographers you might recognize, like Chase Jarvis, Gavin Gough, Chris+Lynn and others. These stories can inspire you or scare you, depending on how you interpret them, but they certainly make you think about photography as a vocation.

In the end, what's the secret he reveals? Why, that there is no secret. There's no formula for your path to success in photography because you bring something unique to the pursuit of the craft. That may sound a bit disingenuous, but David certainly knows what he's talking about, having experienced his own "long, strange trip" to professional photography.

I highly recommend this book, along with David's previous book
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