The Soul of the Camera with David duChemin (Podcast 576)

by | Jun 5, 2017 | Art Talk, Interview, Podcast | 6 comments

Today I bring you an inspiring conversation with my friend David duChemin, in which we talk in depth about many of the concepts explored in his latest book, The Soul of the Camera: The Photographer’s Place in Picture-Making.

We didn’t script the conversation, so there isn’t a manuscript to share with you today. What I did, was select a number of quotes from the book, and we used those as a starting point for a number of deeper dives, so here are the quotes that I took from The Soul of the Camera, some of which were edited slightly to make them a little shorter:

Page 1 – Photography is not (at least the way I understand the medium) a technical pursuit. It is an aesthetic pursuit achieved by technical means.

Page 36 – Yes, it’s true: everything has been photographed. But unless all we want to do is say, “Here’s what this looks like,” rather than the much more subjective and personal, “Here’s how I see it, here’s what it feels like,” we can do better.

Page 59 – Patience matters because of the iterative way our creativity works, the way inspiration and ideas always seem to come after false starts and detours. It is our ability to pursue those false starts and not fall into despair the moment we realize we’re further from our best ideas that makes sure those detours become just the longer, scenic route to wherever it is we’re going, instead of a dead end.

Page 175 – The biblical story of the creation of humanity has the Creator making man from clay and then breathing His own life into him… I find that symbolism striking and relevant. If our work is to be human, it’s our task as its creator to breath life into it. Inspiration (literally “to inhale”) is everything we do to draw our deepest breath from the world around us …… But it’s the act of exhaling into our work that makes it ours, that gives life and spark to what we make.

Page 193 – You quote John Wesley saying “Light yourself on fire with passion, and people will come from miles to watch you burn.”

I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did. It’s always a pleasure to talk with David.

To get your copy of The Soul of the Camera, head over to the website:

If you’d like to help support the podcast, you can also buy from Amazon with this link:

Here too are a few photographs from The Soul of the Camera.



Gabra women dancing, North Horr, Kenya.

Gabra women dancing, North Horr, Kenya.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

The Complete Namibia Tour & Workshop 2018

Before we finish, I’d like to quickly mention that I have started taking bookings for our 2018 Complete Namibia Tour & Workshop. This is an epic 17-day tour, on which we photograph the beautiful landscape and culture, as well as the wildlife of this beautiful country. For details and to book your place, please see the tour page at

Complete Namibia Tour & Workshop 2018

Complete Namibia Tour & Workshop 2018

Show Notes

To get your copy of The Soul of the Camera here:

Or directly from Amazon here:

Music by Martin Bailey


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  1. Joshua Kuhn

    Great interview. I even enjoyed the banter about whisky, as I can relate. I am still backlogged on books to read, but “The Soul of the Camera” moved to number one in my que.

    • Martin Bailey

      Thanks Josh! I’m pleased you enjoyed this. I really did.

      You’ll love The Should of the Camera when you get to read it.

  2. Andy

    Great conversation Martin and David! I also enjoyed the Whisky tasting notes. Ardbeg and Laphroaig are two of my favourite malts. I once read that Laphroaig has “a hint of the medicine cabinet about it” :-).

    • Martin Bailey

      Hey Andy! Nice to see you here. I’m pleased you enjoyed this conversation. I can totally relate to the medicine cabinet reference. 🙂

  3. Miguel Lopez Sanchez

    How could I not mention how great is to be listening to you two again in another fascinating conversation about the path that many of us we share in this journey.

    Really felt like being sitting down once more on the same old table with you guys, drinking and engaging in our most beloved conversation but much more “mature” every time (photographically speaking..) than the last ones.

    Because aren’t we all grew up on this artcraft throughout the years?… in some aspects I find myself like David, coming back to the roots of this neverending learning curve, and trying to be much more aware of enjoying the moment of the creative process without biggest expectations about the results or giving too much thinking of what the others will say about my work or at least the non constructive feedbacks, but create the art I decided to create.

    Anyway, thanks again for such a fun time with this episode! You guys rules!

    Best wishes and light.


    • Martin Bailey

      Thanks for the wonderful comment Miguel! I’m so pleased you enjoyed this conversation.

      All the best!



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