To Write About Life, You Have to Experience It First

U.S. Army Pathfinder Training--Slingloading

U.S. Army Pathfinder Training--Slingloading

There is an old saying, “In order to write about life you must experience it first,” and when you’re my age, 47, you’ve got a lot to write about, though sometimes I don’t think people will believe half of what I’ve lived in my photographic career of over 30 years. Regardless, I’m a person who loves to convey messages of life through my photography and my writings, so I decided to give away my fifth photography how-to book away for free—because I want to give back, educate and tell the stories of the power of photography to help build or rebuild self-esteem, more specific, photographic therapy.


After all, who would believe that a U.S. Army, soldier, would be posing nude for the camera during an ongoing investigation on soldiers that sexually harassed her? Not to mention she was almost raped by an Army Ranger and the Army was doing its best to throw her out of the service because they didn’t want to deal with her. She took the chance while under this stress to pose nude for my camera and immediately began to feel better about herself.

Just like the story of the young Air Force officer who returned from the Officer Training School only to find her own clothes on the front porch because her newlywed husband chose the bridesmaid, her best friend, instead. Yes, she too used photography to overcome her sense of helplessness, betrayal, and rejection.

While I spent over 17 years combined federal service with the U.S. Army as an active-duty solider and as a U.S. Air Force civilian, not all the stories are military related like that of the young lady who lost 131 pounds thanks to bariatric surgery.

Yes, these stories did happen amongst many others that I was able to witness at times in the form of hearing, seeing, and believing thanks to my camera lens, my subject’s mirror. This process brings out life experiences in a subject who is in the need for photography to help build or rebuild self-esteem. I see it everyday as a photographer, people seek strength in the barrel of a lens, not a gun, but when the photographer fails or doesn’t comprehend the subjects needs, then the photographer’s lens barrel can fast become a gun barrel, especially for someone in a depressed state of mine.

Photographers must be careful in the photographic therapy process and understand they are not there to replace medically qualified professionals. Photography is powerful, hence why I’ve giving away my fifth photography book away for free. There are no gimmicks, no adware, no spyware; it’s a book designed in Adobe InDesign and edited by one of the top photography editors in the world, Alice Miller of Plum Communications. It’s a 3.1-megabyte file in a clean PDF format and like all my books, it’s 8 ½-inches by 11-inches, full color, with over 60 photos and captions.

Plus, it includes 11 chapters, a preface, index, recommended resources, and more make up this almost eighty-page book targeted for photographers but written and designed in a hybrid format so potential photographic therapy subjects can learn and perhaps relate to the stories told. Perhaps potentially even save a life, so please pass it on to your friends and colleagues that you can download a free copy at http://www.freephotographybooks.com or here at this blog. It’s free! You can’t beat that, especially when my other books sell for up to $40 at local bookstores worldwide. And if you feel the book has given you something of value, you can provide a donation toward the costs associated with the distribution of such a large file. Every little bit helps as I’ve returned back from another successful Virgin Islands workshop filled with life’s experiences that I’m sure I’ll write about someday. Thanks, don’t forget the troops and their families, God Bless–Rolando Gomez


While I personally prefer listening to country music, most models today listen to various types of music, including the more hip music. While conducting my Virgin Islands workshops, we have the ability to plug-in an I-Pod, or in my case, my I-Phone, which has caused me to download songs from I-Tunes, more in tune with the younger model crowd

I often use music to get my creative juices flowing, whether writing articles or books, or when photographing models on location, especially in the Virgin Island, Glamour, Beauty and the Nude workshops. I tend to choose music that will relax the models and get them moving and with glamour photography, one song that seems to get the models, and even me, flowing, is the song by Fergie called Glamorous.
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Virgin Islands-Nov 09′ (SOLD-OUT)

Date: 11/5-10/2009 (SOLD OUT)
Venue: U.S. Virgin Islands
Details: The first Virigin Islands worskhop sold-out in less than 2-weeks!  All of the VI workshops for 2008 sold-out, most sold-out a year in advance!  All of the 2008 workshops are sold-out! Here’s your chance if you missed out to book early for 2009!  Only Twelve Photographers and Six Models per workshop.  First-come, first-serve! 

This will be our 20th Virgin Islands workshop.    The dates are Nov. 5th-10th, 2009.  Fly in on Nov. 5th (Thurs.) to St. Thomas (Airport code STT) then we ferry over to a smaller island where it’s private, camp-style workshop–open to all levels of photography, from beginners to advanced–your departure day is Nov.10th (Tuesday) unless you choose to stay longer in St. Thomas on your own.

These workshops promise to be better than the best workshops ever done–this is not a foreign country, this is the U.S. Virgin Islands! No currency conversions, no foreign language, no crazy inflated value-added taxes or worries about the food and water or your camera equipment held in customs till you pay the “bribe.” Currently a U.S. passport it not required, provided you present a government issued identification card, such as a driver’s license.

(All images below, photographed at previous Virgin Islands’ Workshops, actual models, equipment and location featured!)

We’ve got a place that rocks! The location was featured on HGTV this year and Brad Pitt filmed parts for one of his movies on this secluded island part of the islands.  It’s not your “typical tourist hotel” trap found in other workshops–this is a private paradise 10-minutes from St. Thomas giving us great sunsets, sunrises, private infinity-pool shots with the ocean blue/green waters and golden sunsets in the background. 

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