Friday, July 16, 2010

Vision Mongers: A (book) review (sort of)

A while ago I came across a few discussions about David duChemin's book Visionmongers: Making a life and living in Photography.  I found the discussions intriguing, and headed over to Amazon to order it.  At the time I saw Amazon wasn't offering any discount so I just put the title in my head so I could look for it locally.

I eventually did see it locally and picked it up (I should have been checking Amazon too, they offer a substantial discount now).  My intention was to read it on the trip to North Carolina.  That didn't work out, I started to read it the night I brought it home-- and didn't stop until it was finished.

If you have any desire to make a creative endeavor a business, I think it is an extremely useful book.  If you have never thought about things like budgets, pricing, marketing, service, and beyond -- it is probably eye-opening.  It contains a handful of discussions with photographers that have "made it" in the field, and a little of the story of how they got there.  One of the most interesting, and scary, things is how many of their paths went through bankruptcy or worse before they got where they are now.

I like the warnings he laid out for avoiding the field.  I also enjoyed the way he tries to stoke the fires of your imagination, and works you towards ways of applying creativity your business process.  Photography isn't the only place you can be creative in your life.

I could go on and attempt to list everything I like about the book.  But that would be difficult.  I like it a lot, after-all I did read it in one sitting. 

Instead I will list a few of my niggles.  I think I would prefer to see more of the author's primary work photos, with some captioning and context as the book's illustrations.  He can't do that for reasons explained in the book, but I think it would be more interesting.  In fact I feel the photos are the weakest part of the book.  I am not saying the photographs themselves are weak.  They are strong (the one of a red seat on page 35 keeps me looking at it over and over again for some reason).  However, they really have no context.  They are merely very pretty eye-candy.

Who do I think this book is for?  Anyone contemplating the idea of paying their rent with a camera.  Who isn't this for?  Anyone thinking this is a photography book-- they will probably be disappointed.

I like it enough I will probably pick up additional books written by the author.

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