Tag Archives: speaking

BOOK REVIEW: Photographically Speaking by David duChemin

I enjoy David duChemin’s books because he speaks about artistry and philosophy, and not just about the technical details in his photography. Many photographers do the same thing and talk about composition, light and other aspects of photography beyond the camera, but David really brings his thoughtfulness into his writing.

duChemin book cover

Photographically Speaking: A Deeper Look at Creating Stronger Images is David’s latest book and one more example of his inward-looking style. The book considers what makes a photograph successful and how to apply these qualities of visual storytelling to future images. There are many techniques illustrated here that you can get in many other books—the rule of thirds and the golden spiral come to mind—but the real takeaway is how David explains these concepts and examines them at their most philosophical level.

For example, there’s a small sidebar on “reading” versus “viewing” photographs where David describes the difference between passive viewers and active “readers” of images. I learned a similar concept when I was studying music history: to really understand a work of art, you have to go beyond your superficial reaction to it. In today’s saturated world of images, it’s easy to jump at first impressions when viewing photography, but David is wise enough to avoid that and frame the discussion with that single word.

The last section of the book—almost 100 pages—is devoted to 20 of David’s photographs. Those are a lot of pages to devote to just 20 images, but I appreciate the focus. In this section, Photographically Speaking applies the concepts of visual language that were developed in the previous section, such as orientation and the rule of thirds. I enjoy the philosophical aspects of the first section more than the technical focus in the second, but it does help make the book well-rounded.

Photographically Speaking is a very enjoyable book with beautiful images and very thoughtful writing from David. Photographers who have a firm grasp of their craft and want to really think through the images they produce can’t go wrong with this book.

Photographically Speaking: A Deeper Look at Creating Stronger Images
David duChemin
Published by New Riders
US $44.99
Rating: 10/10
Buy from Amazon.com

BOOK REVIEW: Confessions of a Public Speaker


I don’t normally review books on public speaking, but my contact at O’Reilly suggested I take a look at Scott Berkun’s Confessions of a Public Speaker and I enjoyed it very much. I do some speaking on design and branding, most recently a presentation on OpenType for my local InDesign User Group, and I have been interested in improving my speaking skills. This book focuses on speakers who present to large and small audiences—not really those who present to clients—and is uniquely entertaining and illuminating.

Scott Berkun is a wonderfully intriguing author, speaker and tech insider who is perfect for Confessions of a Public Speaker. He’s extremely candid—he even reveals how much he makes, which few people in any profession are comfortable doing—and has unique viewpoints on everything from “15 minutes of fame” to speaker’s fees to Americans’ place in the scheme of worldly wealth. He’s also a wickedly funny writer and I’d recommend the book if only for its humor.

Confessions of a Public Speaker also is a strong resource for speakers and presenters of all kinds. I do think the book is written for people speaking in front of audiences but some of the material is also helpful for those presenting to clients or coworkers, or even teaching others in general. The anecdotes Scott uses throughout the book are beautiful gems; one of my favorites is the the story of him taking a driving lesson from his brother to start out the chapter “The clutch is your friend.” It makes for a good lesson for public speakers as well.

The combination of dynamic writing, experience, compelling anecdotes and a focus on the presentation makes Confessions of a Public Speaker an exceptional book, and one that I’m happy to give a perfect rating for. The book may not be too technical or throw around much speaking lingo, but what it does do is even better.

Confessions of a Public Speaker
Scott Berkun
Published by O’Reilly
Rating: 10/10