Being a constant reader of books and a lover of photography, I occasionally discover a book that really hits home and reminds me of what got me into photography: the photographer that not only delivers a striking visual image, but writes compelling stories.
After browsing the new books section at the Cascade Park Library, a book by National Geographic photographer William Albert Allard, “Five Decades,” grabbed my attention, because I recognized the photo on the cover, and I knew that I had to check it out.
Page after page, the words and photography are of the highest quality. The insight and wisdom contained in the writings by Allard show and tell what 50 years in a given profession looks like. There isn’t a whole lot of talk on the latest and greatest technology. At one point, he talks about having to adopt color film photography and how much that changed his view of photography itself.
As you take in all that Allard shares, you get the sense that photography is about the life lived and shared with others, not just the documentation and capture of imagery.
The feeling that this book gives me makes me think of Galen Rowell, the late photographer and writer, who inspired me to want to communicate visually and in writing. From his essays in “Outdoor Photographer” to his magnum opus, “Mountain Light,” his vision was communicated in everything that he did. Photography was about the life lived and he would come to the end of his life in pursuit of that very goal.
While there is a lot of wisdom in the retrospective analysis of a photographer’s career, there are modern photographer/writer combinations out there speaking about the pursuit of photography, communication and business. One is David duChemin, who has impacted me with his mix of technical writing, inspirational stories, striking photography and his use of traditional and new media. His book “VisionMongers” gets me motivated when it comes to establishing not just a vision, but a business model for photography.
With that, I encourage you to live and share your life with others. Find those voices that bring you inspiration, encouragement, vision and direction. They are waiting for you.