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Dick Durrance  

Photographer, Speaker and Creative Vision Guide

Dick Durrance studied at Andover and Dartmouth College, where he majored in art and studied leadership as president of his class, was a member of the Green Key Society, Casque & Gauntlet (a senior society) and captain of the ski team. As a skier, he learned a lot about competition and was twice named an All-American skier.

In 1964, as an undergraduate at Dartmouth, Durrance joined a team of students organizing an expedition to paddle canoes down the Danube River. He served as one of the two photographers. Incredibly, the pictures they captured were published as a 45-page cover story in National Geographic magazine, opening the door to a career in photography.

He served as a U.S. Army combat photographer in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968, where he saw conflict up close. The National Press Photographers Association honored him with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards in the 1969 Military Photographs of the Year competition.

Circling the globe as a National Geographic staff photographer from 1969 to 1976, Durrance continued to develop his creative vision, producing the images for nine stories and three books. The assignments were a great lesson in how important connecting with people is to expressing creative vision. The White House News Photographers Association selected him as their Magazine Photographer of the Year in 1972.

In an effort to continue to expand his vision as a photographer, Durrance resigned his position at National Geographic in 1976 to start his own business. He and his team created advertising photographs for global companies like Kellogg’s, AT&T, Reader’s Digest, Mobil, Hertz and Philip Morris. His peers in the American Society of Media Photographers named him their Advertising Photographer of the Year in 1987 (the only National Geographic photographer ever honored as both Magazine and Advertising Photographer of the Year).

Dartmouth College awarded Durrance their Presidential Medal for Outstanding Leadership and Achievement in 1991.

In 1993, his creative vision led him and his wife, Susan Drinker, to the national parks with their panorama cameras. In 1995, they expanded the range of their landscape shooting to the world’s great golf courses.

Durrance now spends most of his time giving keynote presentations and leading photographic workshops for a wide variety of clients, including the Million Dollar Round Table, New York Life, Timberland, YPO chapters, ASAE’s Great Ideas Conference, Club Managers Association of America, Red Wing Shoes and RE/MAX.

He particularly enjoys inspiring students to unleash their creative vision so they can bring to the world the best they have to offer. He has spoken at the annual Retreat for Profoundly Gifted students, Shenandoah University’s Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business, Rotary Club’s Young Leadership Awards and a number of schools throughout Colorado.

Durrance’s ideas and images are available to readers in eight books: In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark, The Appalachian Trail and The Majestic Rocky Mountains published by the National Geographic Society; Where War Lives published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Golfers and The PGA Tour: A Look Behind the Scenes published by Andrews McMeel; Little Book of Big Ideas and Dream Like A Champion published by Ideas and Images Unlimited.

Speech Topics


Dream Like A Champion

“Dream Like A Champion” is a 50-minute keynote presentation featuring stories and pictures from photographing combat in Vietnam, National Geographic adventures, global advertising campaigns, the national parks and the world’s great golf courses. The keynote, with its wonderful stories about remarkable people living in faraway places, reminds audience members that we are all graced with creative vision. What they take away from the presentation are three ideas specifically tailored to their industry that can help them unleash their creative vision, transform the challenges they face into promising opportunities and, as a result, bring to the world the very best they have to offer. Durrance can adjust the keynote to fit in time slots ranging from 30 minutes to 60 minutes.

Using Photographs To Tell Your Story

With photographs, stories and experiences from shooting National Geographic assignments, global advertising campaigns, National Parks and the world's great golf courses, I share the visual skills that led to my being named both the Magazine Photographer of the Year and the Advertising Photographer of the Year by my peers. What people take away from the workshop (often given as a breakout session for my keynote Dream Like A Champion) is a clearer understanding of how they can harness the power of the graphic elements in photographs--the light, lines, shapes, colors, and textures--to better communicate their thoughts and experiences.

Unleash Your Creative Vision

“Unleash Your Creative Vision” is a unique two-part program that opens with a 35-minute keynote presentation featuring stories, pictures and insights from photographing combat in Vietnam, National Geographic adventures, global advertising campaigns, the national parks and the world’s great golf courses. The keynote, with its wonderful stories about remarkable people living in faraway places, reminds audience members that we are all graced with creative vision. What they take away from the presentation are three ideas specifically tailored to their industry that can help them unleash their creative vision, transform the challenges they face into promising opportunities and, as a result, bring to the world the very best they have to offer. Following the keynote, Durrance leads participants through three engaging exercises in which they use the cameras in their phones to apply the ideas in the keynote to their lives at home and at work.

The length of the exercises portion of the program can be sized from 30 minutes to 60 minutes to fit the meeting planner’s schedule.

Telling Stories With Your Pictures

“Telling Stories With Your Pictures” is a hands-on photographic workshop in which Dick Durrance shares with participants the best of what he has learned traveling the world as a photographer—shooting pictures for National Geographic and global advertising campaigns—while creating beautiful, storytelling photographs. Participants are taken on a photo shoot (usually in a nearby park) and then Durrance reviews a sampling of their pictures with them. What participants take away from the workshop is a greater awareness of the graphic tools like light, line, shape, color and texture that they can apply to make their pictures more dramatic and effective. The workshop is often offered in conjunction with one of the keynote presentations. The workshop can be scaled from 2-4 hours to meet a client’s scheduling needs.

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