Saturday, June 13, 2015

Enthusiast

I got this book as a birthday gift from a friend who jokingly challenged me afterwards that I should make my own version after reading it.

 lessons



Dreamscape

I stand on the edge 
of a cliff, mummified 
by the clouds 

grasses turn to vines 
intertwine 
pain and pleasure 
thousands of feet 
from the ground 

I was learning the details
of nature’s palette 
but the starless skies 
swallowed me whole. 

On the phone, 
mother was yelling 
You are on the cover 
of a photo magazine --
playing with the clouds

I hang up. 
It wasn't me. 
Nor my photo.

/totomai

The book is about Lorenzo Dominguez’ journey in (re)discovering his artistic side while having emotional battles. He just separated from his wife and their two sons were left under her care. But instead of succumbing to depression and loneliness, he made his camera his constant companion and went to discover the neighborhood. And as they say, the rest is history. He became famous in flickr, a photo sharing site. He also got discovered by magazine editors, bloggers and photo agencies. The intention of the book was to share the lessons he learned about life and photography, its parallelism and contrast. Thus, the obvious title of the book - 25 Things I've learned about photography life.

It has a very interesting and engaging premise. However, after five or six chapters it was fast becoming a tedious read. Maybe because I need not to be reminded about the divorce frequently. I really enjoyed the first few chapters, especially the time when Lorenzo was trying to play with this camera, got all excited and post as many photos as possible on flickr. His enthusiasm reminded of myself when I started photography and became addicted to flickr. The joy was discernible.

philosophy

There were times that the flow of the essay seemed flat. It sounded like a literal explanation of the quotations included in each chapter. It could have been better if it was free-flowing, more natural. I understood why it was presented that way, to have a more defined, or precise chapter but some of it were not effective. 

Some of his photos were included in the book. He seemed to perfect the technique of street photography. I really like the composition and angles of the photos. However, the quality could have been better. Some of the details of the photos were lost with the way it was printed. I may have “met” him on flickr before. Maybe. 

Also, some of the photography tips he shared surprised me. Example, when Lorenzo mentioned that there were times he tried to take photos with both of eyes opened, I smiled because I do that. ALL THE TIME. But there were times I found myself disagreeing on his tips. Once, he also pointed out, that in this digital age, it is easy to delete blurred and not so good shots right away. I object. I STRONGLY OBJECT. Keep these shots because every day you will have a different perspective or point of view and maybe these bad photos can be your masterpieces. So I would not recommend deleting them. See them later when you have a fresh mind and eyes. 

It is still a good book though. Especially if you are into photography. It did not focus on the technicalities but on the satisfaction of one who is into this kind of hobby. He may have quoted lots from famous people, but I will be ending this review with a quote from Lorenzo Dominguez. 
So don’t be afraid of solitude – strive for it instead. For emptiness can lead to clarity, and it is often the optimal conduit for enlightenment and inspiration.

/totomai
2015/06/13

57 comments:

  1. I enjoyed your poem. Oh, if only you were on the cover of a photo magazine!! Your photos deserve to be. I appreciated your comments on photography & the sharing of Lorenzo's book. I think whoever said you should write such a book is correct. I think you have the art & science of photography down well. Ha, I will have to think about taking photos with both eyes open.

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    1. I can only dream. Mom can only dream too. haha. It's a bit uncomfortable to take photos with both eyes open at first but it's good to get the feel of the surrounding while doing so. Or maybe it was easier for me because I don't have a perfect vision. Have a nice week, Mary.

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  2. Thank you for the wonderful book review, which does whet my appetite in spite of the shortcomings you describe. And I LOVE your beautiful poem!

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    1. Thanks Rosemary. I received that book years ago but it was only now I've got time to read it :-)

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  3. I cannot imagine that your book would be flat, Totomai. Your poetry floats me up to the level of the photographs, and the prose/poetry/photo--the three Ps--always delight. I like the book reviews too (though they could be shorter). But wait! Let's talk about poetry! I see each element of this dream. To be "mummified by clouds" is awesome. But it wasn't you playing with clouds. It was trying to survive torture--swallowing-- by paying attention to detail. Mom misinterpreted. I can't help thinking of this as a Faustian moment though--being way up there and able to SEE!

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    1. Thanks Susan. Funny but I always thought my reviews are short [crossposting this to goodreads]. Will try to keep in short next time. Yes, mom misinterpreted but after all no one in the family like photography except me. LOL!

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  4. I loved this post, Totomai - I especially love "but the starless skies swallowed me whole". After reading about this photographer's book, I suspect you could write a better one............

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    1. I can only wish Sherry. Maybe in the future. I'll make my life interesting first haha

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  5. Being treated to your photography regularly we would hardly imagine you would need to learn more. However the secret of all skills is that you never stop learning.

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    1. I forgot to add I bought a copy of Hiromi Kawakami's book "Strange Weather in Tokyo" that you recommended. It was brilliant I didn't want it to end. I must read more of his books.

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    2. Right Robin, photography is a learning process. So everyday, there's a thing or two to learn.

      Glad you liked the book, I recommended another one earlier :)

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  6. the mummified image, that engulfing starless sky image and mother's excitement make this poem a treat...also love your book review...thanks for the wonderful post as always :)

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    1. My pleasure Sumana, I tried to give something different each week. Maybe I'll try a movie review soon :)

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  7. I like the idea of talking about why you take pictures.. Your photography talks to me more, it feels like there is a thought beyond the beauty many times. Oh and the images of your poem and its narrative is a perfect complement.

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    1. Thanks Bjorn. It's difficult to be addicted to photography but I think I am still fine :) Keep on shooting too

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  8. Perhaps 'taking with both eyes open' could have meant not literally speaking. It could mean one ought to be aware of every aspects of picture taking to ensure great results. Good advice. Appreciate your very frank and deeply intrusive comments. Very educational totomai!

    Hank

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    1. Thanks Hank, that make me doubly happy if I can share something to you and others :)

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  9. Totomai - I think you are writing that book every time you post on your blog.. when it is 'right' the clouds will clear and the path will be there..it is very unique to be both such a gifted photographer and poet..thank you also for your kind comment

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    1. You are very much welcome Jae. Hoping that the right time will finally arrive to all artists.

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  10. I enjoyed seeing the world through your eyes...including the tips from the book, smiles ~ I don't have an eye for the camera regretfully but I do appreciate a good photo as I know it takes a lot of patience and effort ~

    I specially like this part:
    I was learning the details
    of nature’s palette
    but the starless skies
    swallowed me whole.

    So it is and good weekend to you ~

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    1. Nice to hear from you again Kabayan. I was preparing for my report and I ended up writing a poem haha. Have a nice weekend too

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  11. This is great :D thank you so much for the book review! And what an amazing poem too :D

    I stand on the edge
    of a cliff, mummified
    by the clouds

    Beautiful lines :D
    xoxo

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    1. Welcome Sanaa. Try to read the book if you've got the chance

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  12. Wnderful poem filled with pathos and ironic comedy :)

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  13. Nice to read your side about that book, Totomai, and you did provide a genuine a review in which I really appreciate. Cool how you could take pictures with both eyes open, I couldn't. Or maybe it became a manerism to me to already to always close the other side of my eye whenever I'd take pictures or tried to photograph something (that is & only when using a pro cam). Taking shot via a mobile handset would be a different case though. Thanks for the poem & the shared Bora pics!

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    1. The bora pics are so old. I dont even have a DSLR that time, I need to go back there ASAP. Thanks Kevin. By the way, have you read this book too?

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    2. But I love the old Bora much more than today. I haven't read the book, but I know I have encountered it before.

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    3. Maybe I'll try Palawan instead. Lol, I need to explore our country

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  14. Luv how your poem ended. Gave me quite a chuckle
    Thanks for the info on Lorenzo and that very wonderful quote

    Have a nice Sunday

    Much love...

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    1. Have a nice Sunday too Gillena. We can all smile to our dreams right?

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  15. Replies
    1. Nice to see you enjoying the poem :)

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  16. I also enjoyed your presentation totomai....and I loved the Lorenzo quote...but I really enjoyed your quote best with your self-portrait in the mirror....I agree about blurred photos...I keep them too and many times find a treasure within the blurred edges!

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    1. After years of shooting, that's the philosopophy i established. Thanks Donna

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  17. Coming back down to earth with a thud. It's inevitable, it seems. Love the "twist" of reality in your poem. Enjoyed the post!

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    1. Thanks Wendy. When need it even the hard way..

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  18. Loved this, totomai!! These lines really got me,

    'I was learning the details
    of nature’s palette
    but the starless skies
    swallowed me whole'

    I feel like I know that feeling. Great writing, indeed!

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  19. A beautiful dreamscape and dreams hold the keys to tomorrow..so maybe in the future you will be on the cover of photography magazine. One never knows...

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  20. Great poem. Love the end it hits hard that the dream may not have been yours.

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    1. But that's the interesting aspect of life - surprises even if it's not in our favor

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  21. I enjoyed the poem and the info about the book.

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  22. Lots of informations and observation, self experience - I appreciated all of them. ~ Every time I get surprised by your poem, such unique approach, desire not to copy someone else... 'mummified' - love this image in first verse...and in the verse, where ' starless skies
    swallowed me whole.' - how often we think we observe nature while it's opposite or true for both sides... ~ your review: liked that you focus on positive sides of art, photography, and avoid unhappy moments of our physical existence... loved your habit to keep all shoots for later...yes, the perspective changes with time. It's true, learning art/photography or something else we in same time taking life lessons...

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    1. Thanks humbird, I think that's the beauty of photography :) we usually go to the unseen world.

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  23. I really enjoyed all the textures and sight used to experience your poem. Also, thank you for introducing me to Lorenzo Dominguez and his work :D

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    1. Check his street shots :) Thanks Rose

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  24. Wow - what an image. Being swallowed whole by our own experience. I enjoyed the book review too.

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  25. FABULOUS ending! Build... build... build... dROp/StOp!

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any thoughts to distill?

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