Shadows & Reflections, By Lori Brookes, (Blurb Creative Publishing Service, 2010, 31 pages.)
Book Review by Dennis Moore
August 15, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) -- If ever a picture was worth a thousand words, San Diego author and photographer Lori Brookes’ book, Shadows & Reflections, says it all. Her compilation of pictures taken along the River Seine in Paris, sailing around San Francisco Bay, at Spanish Village in San Diego's Balboa Park, and atso many other locations provides a pictorial journey of intrinsic emotions and insight. She calls it a life philosophy through words, imagery and imagination. Her work is a bit of poetry and photography, with a smidgen of self-assessment.
She found her passion for photography, ironically, amid the ashes of the 2003 Cedar Fire.
In 2004, she toured Julian artist/architect James Hubbell’s compound, which was being rebuilt after the Cedar Fire. There, Brookes came across an inspiring gift of nature. Looking out across the scorched landscape of blackened manzanita wood, she spotted a solitary sunflower beaming in the direction of the sun. "Breaking out in goose bumps, I knew that I was in the presence of an awe inspiring symbol of the cycle of life," she wrote. "I didn’t know it then, but this photo was to become the catalyst in the pursuit of my passion for photography and the newest leg in the journey of my life."
The photo, “After the Fires” won a photo contest and led to a showing of her in a Phoenix gallery. Since then she has held several one-woman photography shows and launched a professional photography business that features photojournalism-style portraiture, weddings, and portfolio photography for architects, interior and landscape designers. Her work has been published in San Diego Home & Garden, Life After 50 and Sunset Magazine Online.
Brookes describes her new book, Shadows and Reflections, in two parts. She considers part I to be a visual and thoughtful exploration of the shadow side of life, noting, “In a shadow, whether belonging to person or object, distinctions disappear. They are ageless, genderless, and colorless. All outward characteristics erased, casting out discrimination caused by perception and judgment. The shadows altered only by the surfaces they grace. Imagine two figures meet, no hair color, eye shape, eye color, or skin color to compare and contrast. The shadow, a great equalizer and a common bond created by ‘one’ source given indiscriminately to all.”
The author/photographer states in her book that part II is dedicated to the study of reflections, less complicated and yet, just as thought provoking: “To see beyond the obvious, to be aware of our surroundings – really aware. To be present to life and all that it offers. To take a moment and look deeply and see the unseen, beyond the linear into periphery. What’s in the mirror, the window, and at the water’s edge is often more playful and interesting than the original forms.”
Two photographs stand out in Shadows & Reflections. One, “Along the Seine,” has the author enveloping herself in this historic Paris landmark. She observed, “The cobblestone banks of the River Seine lined with stark trees and their shadows, bicyclists at rest alongside the occasional napper. Lovers spending long periods of time talking, kissing, hugging and taking in each other’s essence. I will come back to Paris one day with a love of my own,” she romanticizes. In another photograph, “Candlestick,” Brookes explains her imagery: “While sailing around San Francisco Bay, the sun moved into position behind the pinnacle of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Absent of light to the camera’s eye, the bridge goes black, the sun bursting like a star casting a shadow in the glistening water below. These are the moments to be treasured, unplanned and perfect. I call it ‘Candlestick.’”
In a previous work titled Growing Old ‘Gray’Cefully, the author expressed her innate ability to capture through the lens of a camera the subtleties of life. Similarly, a photograph in Shadows & Reflections, “Sun Stream,” tells us something about the author as a person. Brookes said of the photo: “The apartment bedroom in Montmartre is facing east and the sun is spilling into the room, painting a shadow of the flowering balcony rail as if weaving its pattern into the bedding. It is these simple things that bring me the most joy, when my spirit is open to see them. I imagined myself sprawled across the bed and that at any minute that same pattern would be moving across my body, allowing the sun’s warm rays to penetrate my skin and quench my thirsty mind, while dreaming of far off tropical places with white sand and clear, warm waters. Ding – Dong – Ding – Dong, the morning church bell sounds a subtle melodic reminder that I am in Paris, on this beautiful clear and brisk April morning.” Her words create erotic imagery in the mind, far beyond the images captured by her lens.
This is a book that should be in the collection of all reading and photography enthusiasts; I highly recommend Shadows and Reflections. The book may be purchased at her website, www.loribrookes.com.
Dennis Moore is a member of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild. He has written for Life After 50 Magazine in Pasadena, California, and the Baja Times Newspaper in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.