Wednesday, January 02, 2013

25 Lessons I've Learned About (Photography) Life by Lorenzo Dominguez

Book Review by Zinta Aistars

Paperback: 146 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace, 2011
Price: $19.99
ISBN-10: 1456574485
ISBN-13: 978-1456574482

In the spring of 2005, writes Lorenzo Dominguez, he and his wife became separated, and he found himself looking for a roof to put over his head. He eventually found a small room in a Manhattan church sanctuary, and while living there, going through the introspection that most of us do when going through traumatic events in our lives, he took up photography.

His hobby soon became much more than just a hobby. Photography was in itself the vehicle of his life introspection. Through images taken throughout New York City, mostly at night, Lorenzo gets a new perspective on life and realizes that many of the lessons of photography apply to life. These 25 lessons begin with "everything is beautiful" and then go on to incorporate lessons of perseverance, learning to let go, telling the truth, experimenting, being yourself, striking a balance, and many more.

None of these lessons are earth-shatteringly original or surprising. Indeed, most if not all are cliché. Still, the way Lorenzo presents these lessons, and doing so through the lens of camera, does lend them some originality. His narrative voice is pleasant, even comforting, and his journey is one with which many can identify. The places he arrives are good ones, even if he does sometimes practice rather risky behavior to get his shot.

"…I knew only failures gave in after failing the first time. Too many people just quit after failing the first try because they immediately lose their self-confidence. Winners never concede to circumstance, they just keep on trying and continue to believe in themselves and in their aspirations. And ultimately, they become whatever it is they believe to be true. For faith in oneself is the first step toward truth." (Page 92)

What these lessons might look like in photography, however … well, that's the disappointing part. In my hands was the paperback version of the book, and in its pages were just a few, small photos, not particularly sharp in reproduction, none of which particularly corresponded to the text. It seems that to fully enjoy the author's artistry, the reader is required to visit various sites online to view his work. That's not particularly reasonable. As enjoyable as the author's story could be, had it been a real photo essay would have made a world of difference.

Lorenzo's photographic journey of introspection doesn't necessarily end up with a neat conclusion, or even a predictable one, but he does stay true to himself. By end of the slim book, it's been an enjoyable enough read (and he tells of commercial success as a photographer), albeit missing the view his lens might have provided.

Lorenzo Dominguez has been called an "Internet photography sensation" by Time Out New York and is considered a "Flickr star" by Rob Walker, Consumed columnist, for New York Times Magazine. His work is represented worldwide by Getty Images.

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