• The Soul of the Camera



    A new book by David duChemin



  • "What we lack is not better cameras, but better photographers.

    It's our turn."

  • The photograph can be an astonishing means of connecting and communicating with others. But with over one trillion photos taken each year, why are there so few successes? Why do so many fail to connect or go deeper than the obvious? It's not the cameras: we've never had such sophistication in our hands. Images fail to connect because we keep missing this incredible opportunity to make photographs that are not merely of something, but about something. We give the camera too much credit, expect it to do too much, and fail to inject ourselves fully into the process.


    In The Soul of the Camera: The Photographer’s Place in Picture-Making, David explores what it means to make better photographs by becoming better photographers. Illustrated with a beautiful collection of black-and-white photographs, the book’s essays speak to topics such as craft, mastery, vision, audience, discipline, story, and authenticity. There's discussion of creative process, and patience, and the role of editing and post-production. The Soul of the Camera is a personal and deeply practical book that quietly yet forcefully challenges the idea that our cameras, lenses, and settings are anything more than dumb and mute tools. It is the photographer, not the camera, that can and must learn to make better photographs―photographs that convey our vision; that connect with others; that, at their core, contain our humanity. If the camera, and our photographs, are to have soul, it's we who must put it there.

  • "Learning to see is not about having open eyes; it's about having an open mind."

  • Sample Chapters

    Download the PDF Sample Chapters and Table of Contents here.

  • What Photographers Are Saying

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    Paul Nicklen

    "David duChemin understands an important truth about photography; as photographers, what shapes our craft is how we see the world as humans, not the equipment we use or the situations we find ourselves in. The soul of the camera resides within our humanity, and duChemin does an amazing job of communicating how to access it."

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    John Paul Caponigro

    "If you want to get in touch with the inner game of photography, you can do no better than to read The Soul of the Camera. David duChemin, photography's Thomas Moore, puts soul into everything he does; never more so than in this book.

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    Tamara Lackey

    "The Soul of The Camera inspires the artist through compelling writing, impactful imagery, and reference-friendly bits of wisdom placed throughout the book. David is highly quotable throughout, but he is also highly thought-provoking. Loved this book."

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    Guy Tal

    The Soul of the Camera is a long-overdue, and much-needed, book. David's words and images speak not only to his love of photography, but also to the great joys and meanings to be found in creative expression, in mindfulness and in living an artist's life. David offers one of the clearest, most thoughtful and most inspiring voices among today's photographers.”

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    Cristina Mittermeier

    "In reminding us that it is up to us to put the humanity, the vision, and the poetry into our photographs, David duChemin is right on point. The Soul of The Camera issues an urgent call to self-awareness and a willingness to embrace our inner poet warrior. In a world that is increasingly unstable and where heroes are needed, his eloquent words and photographic sensibility, remind us that “our photographs won’t speak to anyone if we ourselves, the life and soul of the camera, have nothing to say”.

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    Brooke Shaden

    "David nails what is often elusive - the 'certain something' that some images have that others simply lack - not only through his images but through his understanding of photographic, artistic and personal craft. This book is an intimate look into the workings of someone who puts tremendous soul into his work, but it is also a guidebook, written ever-so-poetically, about the pivotal role the artist plays in what an image says and does to the person viewing it. I recommend anyone, even outside of traditional artistic crafts, read this book to put the soul back into your work and life."

  • Audio Interview

    David duChemin sits down with Jeffery Saddoris to discuss The Soul of the Camera, and the place of the photographer in picture-making.

  • An Honest Question:


    Will this book help me make better photographs?


    The Honest Answer:


    No. Only you can do that.

    But it will give you the tools to become a better photographer. Once you know how to focus and expose a camera the rest is all up to you: how you compose, which angles you choose, the lens you use, your choice of moment - all of it. Your shutter speed, aperture, and choice of lens - these all create the final image, but it's you that does the choosing, and all of them say something different.

    Even before that, your photographs will be stronger if you know what you're trying to say, or what kind of story you are trying to tell.

    This is a book about how to become a better photographer. And better picture-makers make better pictures.


    If you're stuck. If you're tired of shortcuts and platitudes and you want to make deeper images, images that touch hearts, and stir the imagination, then this book is for you. If you have this feeling that there's a vast difference both between focusing a lens and focusing attention, and between exposing a sensor and exposing your soul, this book is for you.

    ~ David duChemin.

  • Get Soul.

    Get your own copy of The Soul of the Camera in hardcover, Kindle, or eBook versions through your favourite retailer or direct from the publisher, Rocky Nook, through the links below.


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    Rocky Nook

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    Barnes & Noble

  • More Praise for The Soul of the Camera



    "The Soul of the Camera is duChemin at his best. He begs us to stop listening to the dopamine dealers who have built their empires on our backs by pushing techniques, plugins, golden rules and the latest shiny new thing. David urges us to look deeper and to ask the questions that truly matter." ~ Sean Howard

    "Whether David DuChemin’s books and blogs and incredible photographs are brand new to you or you’ve been a follower of his work for years and years, his undeniably charming voice is medicinal to any creative...and this book, The Soul of the Camera is no exception. The essays within these pages implore you, whether a photographer, a weaver, an author, a whittler or a musician, to honor your authentic creative self. If David’s previous books were largely about vision (and so much more), I would summarize this one by saying it is about intention. Empower your creative self with intentional work – find your vision, hone your craft, study the masters, understand your tools and create something with meaning, create something with your very own soul. It’s not abstract or pretentious...it’s sitting down with a fellow creative, perhaps with a glass of whisky, talking to him about your passions and his. This is a book I will go back to again and again. This is a gift you should give yourself, it’ll be good for your soul." ~ Kris Ryan

    "There are a lot of photography books that focus on the “what” of making images – rules of composition, guides on lighting, manuals on speeds and feeds and lens choices and ISO etc. etc. etc… This book falls into a different category – an exploration of the “why” of making pictures, and provides a huge amount of practical, thoughtful guidance along the way.
    What makes this book different from others in the genre is that it is thankfully free of abstract, mystical, or hippie-esque “let’s dance in the rain and embrace our inner child” nonsense. The book is written in chapters that read like individual essays on things that are real and meaningful for anyone who is interested in developing as a creative person. For anyone who has struggled with the lack of a roadmap for getting there, or feel that they’ve stalled along the way, or have been told too many times that what they’re doing isn’t good enough or isn’t the right thing…this book is for you.
    David writes with wit and warmth, and in a conversational tone that makes you feel like you’re sitting down over a nice glass of wine together and chatting about art without it feeling pretentious. It’s an “eyes to the stars but both feet on the ground” approach that is quite unique and really defines his voice among authors who write about the creative process. I wholeheartedly recommend The Soul of the Camera to any photographer (or really any creative person more broadly, because so much of the content is not about the camera) who is looking to become a better artist." ~ Dave Block

    David tackles image making – not camera settings, or technical details, or “10 steps to better landscape compositions” – but true image making. He connects the art and craft of photography with what stirs deepest down in one’s soul. He talks about fear, motivation, courage, perfection, surrender, authenticity, humility – all as it relates to creating images worth making and images worth seeing. The Soul of the Camera connected with me on so many levels. It spoke to many of the everyday struggles I experience on my journey through life. Sometimes it seemed the words were written to me personally. The cool thing is that this is all tied back to creating better, more impactful and emotionally strong images! It will light a fire to pursue photography and life in ways you may not have until now. This could well be the most impactful book you’ll read about photography this year - or any year!” ~ Derrell Wyshynski

    "After many years of photography I had discovered that I had plateaued. I just couldn’t get to the next level despite improving my gear, taking more workshops and trying to stand in front of more interesting things. Worse yet the joy I had previously found in this craft was diminishing accordingly. Then I found the writings of David duChemin. His latest book, The Soul of the Camera is a masterpiece that frees you from convention and enables the path to more meaningful and intentional photographs. If you buy one thing to help your photography this year please buy thing book. I guarantee it will improve your photography and suggest it may even change how you see the world around you.” ~ Ian Enright

    "It's a must have for any creative. It's a book I will go back to, time and time again. It made me laugh, cry and think in a very short period of time. But most importantly, it is raw and uplifting. A visual, as well as literary delight.” ~ Frauke Wohlers

    "Written with pure and profound passion, David Duchemin's The Soul of the Camera is a thought provoking read for anyone aspiring to develop and strength their photographic voice. In the universal language of photography truly digging deeper to ask yourself the question of what you want to say, can be the most challenging step. This book pushed me to intensely consider where I’m headed next, how to take that journey and how to avoid creative stagnation. David has a wonderful gift of inviting readers to open up to themselves, presenting readers with words that not only connect with our hearts, but also sometimes in the pit of our stomachs. I almost felt exposed when I read parts of this, as if someone had seen the fears I’d been hiding behind, that felt liberating. I feel guided to be open, to embrace my inspiration and am excited to work on MY soul project. With chapters of the perfect length to allow the reader to digest and ponder accompanied by imagery that marries exquisitely with the words The Soul of the Camera is beautifully crafted and a joy to own. This book is a must to add to your collection, to be loved, read and re read to allow your journey both as a photographer and towards the discovery of oneself to harmoniously collide." ~Katherine Williams
    "The Soul of the Camera beautifully explores what it takes to make better photographs, and unravels the mystery of creating compelling images. David writes his latest book with urgency, as if to break through the barrage of images posted on social media today, and implores us as photographers to strive to create images with soul. It’s a critically important book for every photographer, but particularly for those who are frustrated with their images that seem to fall short (despite years spent at their craft), as well as all others who strive to make photographs that touch and move their audience in a more impactful way.

    David speaks to the reader with instructional empathy, and reading his book is like having him at your side. He acknowledges where many of us are in our photographic evolution, never side-stepping the hard truth to encourage us through with direction: “Growth happens when we hit our limits, and it’s discipline that gets us past our natural boundaries.” As a photographer, it’s easy to take in David’s direct words because you know he deeply understands when he writes, “I have the feeling most of us bounce between excitement and frustration, between the thrills and the doubts, and that is as it should be for something to be worth the attention of our minds and the affection of our souls.”
    There is no doubt that every photographer would increase the compelling nature of his or her photographs if the wisdom in this book is openly received and put into practice. It's an important book that is sure to inspire in these often hurried and superficial times.” ~ Karen O'Hern

    "To say this book is a refreshing addition to the conversation is an understatement. It's a well written, honest, and enjoyable read that seamlessly blends philosophy with pragmatic advice that is valuable to both new and well seasoned photographers. In fact, although directed primarily at photographers, this book is likely to appeal to anyone striving to be more present in their life, embrace more creativity and adventure, follow their dreams, and let go of fears." ~ Quinton Gordon


  • The Soul of the Camera, The Photographer's Place in Picture Making

    Hardcover, 288 pages

    Publisher: Rocky Nook (June 14, 2017)

    ISBN-10: 1681982021

    ISBN-13: 978-1681982021

  • Follow David duChemin

    David is a humanitarian and world photographer, author, and passionate fan of the amateur, be sure to find him on his blog, watch his videos, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

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