Book Report: We Came from Fire by Joey Lawrence
If you follow portrait photography, you should know the name Joey Lawrence. I first heard about Joey back when Strobist.com was a mecca for flash lighting geeks (yes, that is how I would describe myself), and David Hobby (aka the Strobist himself) wrote about Lawrence.
It didn’t stop with one blog; Joey was a rock star. Starting at 16, he quickly quashed what many thought was the right way of becoming a commercial photographer, and his own unique style blew up! Having the likes of 50 Cent, and Twilight in his portfolio, he certainly drew attention.
I’ve kept an eye on him over the years, losing track of him when he started a project back in 2013. That project was on women in Syria and Afghanistan who had banded into militias to protect themselves from ISIS. Actually, as I would learn, I was wrong on parts of this, but the idea captivated me, and I read about how he went solo into Iraq to create portraits of these women – all during a time when ISIS was beheading journalists. No support. No magazine backing him up and on his own dime. He was fully dedicated to his work. Needless to say, he did not tell his mother.
He went into that area with the purpose of doing a project that would not be filtered through the bias of any news media, having become jaded on the spin and mis-information being reported in this new age of yellow journalism. Doing so, he was able to create a book that is profound in its depth and tells a story that can only be told first-hand – a story about a Kurdish minority striving to protect themselves and other minorities.
The book is now published under the title “We Came from Fire.” I would argue that this poignant collection is a must-read for anyone wanting to experience a unique viewpoint others can’t provide on an extremely relevant yet little known topic. With complementary skill in the written word and photojournalism, he provides a compelling account that many others cannot provide.