Seven years into my photographic adventures – 3 years ago now – my concept of photography changed fundamentally. This change was triggered when I serendipitously discovered the work of Canadian travel and humanitarian photographer David DuChemin.
Not just a photographer
DuChemin’s portfolio is a masterclass in itself. Many of his images are intimate portraits of the people in the places he goes, as well as documentary images of the lives of the these people, but he is not constrained by genres. There are also landscapes and cityscapes, street photographs, and – in the context of conservation – wildlife, including spectacular underwater images.
But DuChemin is not just a photographer, he is also a teacher and he dedicates large amounts of his professional time to helping others create better photographs. He’s not interested in what camera and lenses you’re using, but in how you use them to apply the creative principles of image making.
Until a couple of years ago, he had an online video podcast called Vision is Better, which ran for 80 episodes (that’s over 10 hours of great photography advice) – these are all available for free on his YouTube channel. He now has a new podcast – A Beautiful Anarchy – which looks beyond photography and considers aspects of the creative process regardless of an artist’s medium. He’s also written several books, and the ones I’ve read are equally as inspirational as his podcasts. In particular, The Visual Toolbox is an outstanding guide to the elements of visual design and how they can be used to create photographs – I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
Connected to the rest of art
I have always seen myself as an artist – I spent most of my youth in some kind of creative pursuit and studied fine art up until I went to university. I very nearly made my career in this area. But my initial motivation for photography – which came much later – came from a different place, and I never really saw a connection between my photography and my art. Until I discovered DuChemin.
It’s as though the photography cable in my brain had been plugged into the wrong port, and DuChemin took it out and plugged it in to the art server. Photography suddenly connected to the rest of art, and I started to see it as an extension of my ever-present desire to create. My reasons for taking photographs and what I am trying to achieve with them have evolved and become clearer.
So if you want your artistic thinking about photography to be ignited, challenged, or simply confirmed, I would highly recommend taking a look at DuChemin’s material. In particular, I’d definitely recommend his podcast, A Beautiful Anarchy – all episodes are free and available on various channels.
See David DuChemin’s work at davidduchemin.com
Get your hands on David DuChemin’s books at Amazon
Listen to A Beautiful Anarchy at abeautifulanarchy.com