I’ll admit to not having read a single book on the iPad because quite frankly the ink technology on the Kindle is less straining to the eye but if the publication is heavily driven by photographs that compliment the text, then I have no choice but to make an exception and get involve with how it was meant to be enjoyed.
I recently purchased Mitchell Kanashkevich’s Journey Through Java which is the fifth release in David duChemin’s Craft & Visions series. In case you’re not too familiar with Mitchell’s work, he’s a freelance travel and documentary photographer. He travels the world and shoots personal projects as well as travel related stories and stock photos for Getty and Corbis Images. Essentially he has all the characteristics of what makes a great storyteller without have the need to type or write anything.
In this 46-page book, Mitchell explains his approach to documentary photography, briefing you on his research and preparation, a glance of his equipment and my personal favorite, the philosophical aspect of it all which translates to the “depth & uniqueness” in photographs he talks about.
Immediately what I appreciated about the book is that it’s not dominated by advising you on which gear will guarantee you capturing evocative photos when making long trips abroad. The emphasis is more on shaping your mind to think poetically about your photographs in the same way extra thought is put into words that rhyme. He says -
An image gains depth when there’s awareness of photography as a visual language and a desire to create photographs that don’t simply “show” a photogenic subject, but “tell” the audiences about it and at least hint at what it “felt” like to be in the presence of such a subject.
With solid practice, the logistics of using a camera can be skillfully learned but I think they’ll come a point where the focus for upcoming photographer like myself should be more about storytelling because that’s what will virtually separate one’s work over the so many that can be produce by anyone with a camera. No two experiences are unique so there’s already the advantage of capturing something different but the key is extending that thought to everything you shoot.
The photographs inside are presented in 2 forms. At the beginning the images are in full-format taking up the whole screen and towards the end the same images are arranged very much like a photo-essay where he takes you along for the ride describing what it took for him to capture each one along with some brief history on the place.
Overall, the book is a great quick read that sits comfortably on my virtual bookshelf in iBooks and it’s the class of material that’s worth investing in to improve your craft. David deChemin’s whole eBook series mantra is Gear is Good, Vision is Better and that’s exactly the kind of mentality that’s conducive to creating quality photographs.