Gift Idea: VisionMongers

“I hate cameras. They interfere, they’re always in the way. I wish I could just work with my eyes alone.”
-Richard Avedon

I had some sushi this week with David DuChemin, author of the new book VisionMongers: Making a Life and a Living in Photography. David’s a great guy–and one of the few photography authors writing today–that actually gets it. It’s not about gear or gimmick or guise. It’s about vision. Developing it and putting it to use. If you’re looking to do some in-front-of-the-television “black friday” shopping for that photographer in your life (ahem, yourself) this would be an excellent investment of your $29. (Amazon VisionMongerslink.)

Anybody already got a copy and care to share a review of VisionMongers or David’s other book, Within the Frame, below? [click ‘continue reading’ link below…]

[Hey, FWIW, I just got a tweet from David’s @pixelatedimage account that told me his ebooks are on sale today only for 50% off. Errr, that’s $2.50. Pretty wicked pricetag electronic books bearing such titles as: Ten Ways to Improve Your Craft and None of Them Involves Buying Gear. You can buy his ebooks at]

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29 Responses to Gift Idea: VisionMongers

  1. Chad November 27, 2009 at 12:11 pm #

    Just bought the ebooks. They weren't half price though. Paid $5 for each one, which is still a good price. Looking forward to reading them.

  2. E'l Roy November 27, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    Just checked David's twitter feed, and the coupon code is BLKFRIDY.

  3. Bas Gijselhart | November 27, 2009 at 12:19 pm #

    I am currently devouring Visionmongers.
    I find that it has lots of practical tips and inspirational stories and examples that I can apply to my situation.
    Having made a semi-transition into vocational photography I'm very busy at the moment to take the next step with branding, how to incorporate social media etc.
    This book offers lots of options to investigate. Furthermore, David's style of writing makes it sort of personal by not only writing about the positives, but also about the possible pitfalls of shooting fulltime.

    Highly recommended!

  4. red November 27, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    Within the Frame is an essential book for those who are stuck in the intermediate levels of the learning process.

    If you feel you are not learning as much as you used to when you first started learning photography, this is the book to get.

    Most books and websites will give you advice on the basics, on how to take pictures that don't suck. Not David. He gives advice on how to make great images. It really helps you understand how to actually apply the technique you learned so far. A true eye and mind opener.

  5. Tyler Green November 27, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    My copy of Within the Frame arrived 5 minutes ago! Can't wait to get off work and dig in. I'll have to get a copy of Visionmongers next.

  6. Trudy November 27, 2009 at 12:36 pm #

    I get that it is not about gear, but why is it so trendy to dislike gear? I don't think that makes someone more insightful to dislike tools they use to create (not saying the author of this book does–but I see that perspective quite often). A doctor can take your blood pressure manually or with a stethoscope but I doubt he would state that he hates a stethoscope.

    To me, disrespecting the tools used to create is like disrespecting the bricks you use to build your house. Of course an architect is needed and he/she must have the artistic vision to design something beautiful. We can see that in Frank Lloyd Wright's works of art, but the tools were still needed for those works to exist. Certainly most photographers know that a camera is a tool and cannot be blamed for bad images or praised for good ones. There are some photographers who perhaps love gear too much and rely on it too much but the extreme should not be to either hate or love gear…it seems that the perspectives on equipment divides among those two paths that are silently warring in the cybersphere.

    It seems that some people are starting to view that you have to either hate gear or love gear to create great imagery and it is neither. I think it is ok to like and respect the tools you work with but not expect them to be more than tools.

  7. Conk November 27, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    It is not that gear is untrendy, it is that the pursuit is untrendy. People are focusing on the pursuit of knowledge and skills rather than their growing gear pile.

    Looking forward to diving into this book, stoked.

  8. Sebastien Degardin November 27, 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    Within the frame is a great book !
    One of the few books I read from cover to cover !

  9. Paulo Rodrigues November 27, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    I reviewed "Within the frame" on my bloggy blog. Its a wonderful book, in fact I may have to read it again.

    I also like the fact that there is no real mention about gear. Why waste dead trees on gear when the information is so readily available and more up-to date elsewhere? Gear in books is often out-of date before its even been published

  10. Craig Ferguson (@cfimages) November 27, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

    David's work is highly recommended. I read Within The Frame earlier this year, as well as his eBooks. I'm hoping to have Vision Mongers soon – it was sent to me 10 days ago but seems to have become lost somewhere between the US and Asia. Or UPS made a wrong turn somewhere :)

    From online communication, emails and so forth, I can say that personally David is a friendly, generous person, so everyone go and buy his books.

  11. daiglebox November 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

    "Within The Frame" is the only book on photography I've ever read word-for-word, cover-to-cover. It's also the only photography book I've ever marked up with a yellow highlighter. I found something of value to markup on almost every page.

    I'm buying a new highlighter for "VisonMongers."

  12. Phillip Sumner November 27, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

    Thanks for the heads up on VisionMongers. This is the type of photography book I enjoy reading. I am going to pick it up asap! Chase, you're like Oprah for photographers! You mention a book, and we all run out and get it. :) Keep it up!

  13. scrapgeek November 27, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    I got Within the Frame out of the library. I liked it so much I bought it. The e-books are terrific too (and terrific value). I am not a pro, nor do I aspire to be but like David's philosophy.

  14. Beau Mitchell November 27, 2009 at 7:09 pm #

    Just bought all four e-books. Thanks for the heads up re the discount, Chase.


  15. Ryan Scott November 27, 2009 at 10:25 pm #

    Started reading Visionmongers last week and it's an amazing read. David is a fantastic writer. I find myself having to reread paragraphs because as I'm reading the insight in this book my mind starts to wander with my own resulting ideas so often.

    An example from the introduction:
    "What this book does, I hope, is give you a handful of wisdom-some of it hard earned, as you'll see from
    the photographer profiles-that gives you tools and courage to bushwack your own path, hear the call of the sirens, set the mainsail, and turn toward their call. Now if you know your mythology, that's a dangerous metaphor, and I'm hoping you won't run your ship into the rocks, but it's going to feel that way at times; it's going to feel like the call of the sirens and your own desperate need not to shipwreck yourself are the two opposing extremes that keep you in tension. And that's a good thing. That's the exciting place in which we look to balance craft and commerce, and live another day to sail our ship toward the call and still avoid the rocks. If the metaphor doesn't work for you, that's okay. If I could say everything with words, I wouldn't have picked up a camera."

    Buy this book.

  16. Amy Ralston November 28, 2009 at 6:25 am #

    Thanks for sharing this book, Chase. I will definitely get it. As usually you are a good source for information. Much thanks from Normandy!!!

  17. Amy Ralston November 28, 2009 at 11:03 am #

    I got "10", "10 MORE" & "Chasing The Look"at the discount E'l Roy mentioned. I am super excited to have them and to have learned about David du Chemin. Thanks again for sharing this info Chase and those in the community. I will have a good weekend of reading, the Norman wind and rain storm. OH I have already wished listed "VisionMongers" ;o).

  18. zack arias November 28, 2009 at 9:45 pm #

    I'm almost done reading VisionMongers and my take on it is this one of the most important books written about being a working photographer. A photography book has never resonated with me more than this one.


  19. Canadada November 30, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    Thanks for the tip re this author and his books. I'll be tracking those down …

    I haven't found anything as seminal as Susan Sontag's words about photography in our era. That woman had amazing insights about the medium,(and its component parts) and its 'message'.

    I'd be interested if anyone can recommend any other 'thought provoking' books or essays about how photography – as an extension of 'sight' – both helps and hinders our collective advancement forward.

    For example, I, for one, am NOT enamoured by 'Google Street View'. I find it insidious and invasive. If anyone in physical form was standing outside my house STARING in at my property, I'd go out and find out WHAT they wanted, and/or where doing there. This 'right' has been eliminated by Google. That said, yes, there are some advantages, ie. to consider a 'commercial' establishment before going, and/or to vicariously 'visit' exotic places – but a LINE has to be drawn somewhere. Google's Streetview is 'surveillance', moreover then it is 'benign', imho.

  20. Canadada November 30, 2009 at 7:09 am #

    opps, sorry, typo …
    were doing there, not where doing there … :)

  21. P-Dog November 30, 2009 at 9:21 am #

    Recently finished VisionMongers. Best book on getting started as a vocational photographer. 90% of it is also applicable to any creative small business venture.

    I also read Within the Frame and it is one of those books I will read every so often just to keep myself renewed. Another book I can recommend along similar lines is Chris Orwig's Visual Poetry.

    What I have also found helpful is reading some older stuff. I recently re-read some of the sections on composition, color, and light from the Complete Kodak Book of Photography (1984).

  22. MRK December 1, 2009 at 5:18 am #

    Hey it looks pretty interesting. Is the Vision Mongers available as an E-Book aswell?
    Even if it costs almost the same price as the hardbook version?

    Kindly Roger

  23. Anonymous December 1, 2009 at 5:19 am #

    Hey it looks pretty interesting. Is the Vision Mongers available as an E-Book aswell?
    Even if it costs almost the same price as the hardbook version?

    Kindly Roger

  24. DP December 5, 2009 at 4:36 pm #

    Both are great, particularly for someone who wants to finally make the push towards full time photographer. They're quite complimentary…

  25. Dade F December 13, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    I picked up the ebooks – a steal at the price $5 come on, even if you learn one thing its worth it.

    Personally liked the format, style and simpleness of the material.
    Personally challenges are always better ways for me to improve my work- and this is what the ebooks presented, not a world of technical stuff or a wealth of knowledge.

    VisionMongers is on Santa's list

    Cheers guys – Care and Share :)

  26. Carl J Licari December 28, 2009 at 6:31 am #

    I get that it's not about the gear but find it ironic that you almost always hear it from those that have the best. Hmmmm.

  27. Mendy Suskin December 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    Splendid post!

  28. Keith Lalanne January 8, 2013 at 2:16 am #

    I’ve supposed that least 2960028 times. SCK was here

  29. top10blog January 26, 2014 at 1:08 am #

    very informative & detailed post, I really liked it as one of the important and nicely written article I am very very positive about these points and would try my best to use most of them as much as possible thanks!

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