drag your readers into your photographs

Spreadsheet out of »A Deeper Frame« by David duChemin

There are only a few authors who focus on their and our vison and approach, the composition, the story or message of the photographs we create. First of all I will mention Andreas Feininger whose books I have read in my teenage days. A friend of mine still tells me that there is almost nothing needed to be written down additionally. Maybe he is right, maybe not. I did not stop reading books on photography.

Feininger started his book with the qoute: »Know how is worthless without knowing why« (1). In the chapter on spatial depth he tells us »spatial depth can not be portrayed directly in a two-dimensional photography: you can just give a symbolic hint at« (2) and »to create the right kind of illusion of spatial depth requires work and thought« (3). So I did not espect to read something in David duChemin´s ebook A Deeper Frame I haven´t read before. And I espected a consensus because I feel that both are like-minded.

David also starts with the »why« and then he explaines »how to« create the perception of depth with using our viewpoint and perspective, choice of lenses, focus, color and light. He thinks about the (flat) »frame cubed … because geometry and balance are so incredibly important and composing for a cube is different than composing for a rectangle« (p 9) and he suggests to »consider applying the thirds« we are used to use in the horizontal and the vertical »to the depth of the image« (p 9).

David intentionally does not write on »conceptual depth« but strives the »depth of feeling« – there is the difference to Feininger. Here David comes to the conclusion »What it takes to touch these deeper emotions is impossible to pin down«. Pity! But David has reminded us in blog-posts, books and lectures that exploring and accepting our own feelings and vulnerability is essential. The best piece in this regard I have seen from David is his ebook Venice when he felt his deep solitude during some rainy days and was able to express this feelings through photographs. So seen David is able to pin it (the deeper feelings) down very well but not to write the »how to« down – currently. I do think it is worthwhile to ask the question »How to touch the reader emotionally?«. Not in the answers, but in trying to find answers lies the value.

Back to A Deeper Frame: David illustrates his lectures with photographs and graphics. For me it is a good dose of knowledge and insights he provides. As always I do love his photographs, some of them filling the whole page. So I recommend reading A Deeper Frame dispite owning books from Andreas Feininger. Worth reading! Both! Repeatedly!

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(1) Andreas Feininger, Große Fotolehre p 13; (2) ibidem  p 375; (3) ibidem p 374, all translated by me