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."
What Photographers Are Saying
"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."
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.
"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."
“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.”
"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”.
"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."
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.
More Praise for The Soul of the Camera
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
The Soul of the Camera, The Photographer's Place in Picture Making
Hardcover, 288 pages
Publisher: Rocky Nook (June 14, 2017)