Thursday, February 11, 2016

To Be a Child by Debra Schoenberger : A Review

BOOK TITLE: To Be a Child

AUTHOR: Debra Schoenberger

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1364711894

GENRE: Documentary / Photography


FORMAT: Digital


HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Laura Fabiani of iRead book tours for this review copy!


Images of children at work and play in ten different countries including Mongolia, India, Turkey, China, Nepal and Tibet. Documentary photographer Debra Schoenberger aka #girlwithcamera has travelled over 100,000 km to document and share the joy of play in its many forms around the world. Some of her work can be seen at


I could trace my love for photography to my father, my hero and the man who I think is my world. He inspired me to do a lot of things and we share many habits, most good, some goofy, and few very laughable ones too. But my attachment to the very art of photography is rivaled perhaps only by his love for a nicely captured photograph. We have spent hours discussing the photos we love, and have taken solo walks (even while on family trips) and gone the extra mile just to try and capture the beauty of the place we are visiting in a photograph. Both of us would have a camera at hand, and as my father taught me the nuances, I would capture one shot after another, marvelling at the original place / thing and its imprint forever etched on to film / digital memory. Therefore, not much persuasion was needed for me to take this book up - my review, for the first time, is dedicated to my father. He is having a happy time browsing through the digital collection of Debra's quality photographs even as I write this!

This one is for you, Dad!


To be a child - is a gift. It is what every human misses as he / she grows up. To see the wondrous beauty of the world from the simple uncomplicated mind of a child is a rare gift only a few people don't shun as they grow up to face the realities of life and the numerous burdens. A child can teach important life lessons - to be happy for no reason, to make friends without expectations, and to celebrate the little things in life. A child's mind is a treasure trove of creativity and imagination and their smiles are one of the most innocent and adorable expressions ever.

Capturing the entirety of a child's expression in a photograph is a tough task. But they are one of the most interesting subjects ever, for more reasons than one. To make them stand still and pose is a feat by itself (speaking out of personal experience) and a single emotion does not stay for long on their faces. But if the photographer manages to capture the myriad emotions, the resultant image is worth all the trouble. Debra, #girlwithcamera is quite talented in this field and her photographs speak for themselves.

Taken in various areas such as China, India and many other beautiful places, each photograph of a child is different, unique and most importantly, appeals to the reader in a different way. I cannot stop marveling at how perfect each shot seemed, no matter whether it was planned or unplanned. The colours, the placement, the subjects and the overall feel is one of wonder, amazement and childlike enthusiasm. Debra's attachment to the art is visible in the way each shot looks professional and casual at the same time.

I am no expert on photography, but I do love a good one when I see it. The theme that has been chosen for this book is sure to connect with the readers and it gives them a strange sense of wanderlust. The girl with the camera has captured my heart in the photographs she has taken. Her subjects are beautiful and the various places at which the pictures were taken reflects in the dresses and the overall mood of the photographs.

Beauty has no limitation, is in the eye of the beholder (or rather the camera holder) and it can be found in the most unexpected of places. To have been present at these moments and to have had the luck to capture these golden memories in an everlasting form is something most people would not get. This is the kind of book you would not want to miss, and if you do own it, one that you will keep within easy reach, picking favorites as you browse through the pages and envy the author for having traveled far and wide and having had such a gift bestowed upon her! 

  • The candidness of the shots
  • The subjects - each child is beautiful in its own way.
  • The various locations where they have been taken and the feeling that each photograph has its own story.

A book that captures some of the most beautiful photographs - and makes you understand why the photographer is the recipient of many awards!



Debra Schoenberger aka #girl with camera

My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fuelled my curiosity for the world around me.

I am a documentary photographer and street photography is my passion. Some of my images have been chosen by National Geographic as editor's favourites and are on display in the National Geographic museum in Washington, DC. I also have an off- kilter sense of humour so I'm always looking for the unusual. Plus I usually have a lot of scars on my knees. ​(le sigh...)

I live with my creative director, Miss Pickles (my budgie) in Victoria, BC, Canada.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Hardcover, Paperback

PRICE $104.01 for Hardcover, $96.01 for Paperback


1 comment:

  1. Thank you Dhivya for such a lovely and interesting review. It was nice to read about you and your father sitting down to talk about the photographs you love. You must have so many wonderful memories! Bahut dhanyvad! :D


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