Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Recommended Reading: Evidence of my Existence

I love biographies / autobiographies and while searching for something to read while on vacation I ran across "Evidence of my Existence" by Jim Lo Scalzo. It's an amazing account of how one person got into photojournalism and includes many stories of the adventures he's had on assignments and personal projects. The official description on all the sites that promote his book says:

He’s been spit on by Mennonites in Missouri, by heroin addicts in Pakistan, and by the KKK in South Carolina. He’s contracted hepatitis on the Navajo Nation, endured two bouts of amoebic dysentery in India and Burma and four cases of giardia in Nepal, Peru, Afghanistan, and Cuba. He’s been shot with rubber bullets in Seattle, knocked to the ground by a water cannon in Quebec, and sprayed with more teargas than he cares to recall. But photojournalism is his career, and travel is his compulsive craving.
...and he does a great job of describing these experiences so you feel like you were there and understand his reasons for going and the importance of what he was doing. The struggle for Jim, however, is his real NEED for travel and photography and his attempts at balancing that with his wife and longing to make a family. This theme is woven throughout the book as well, but doesn't detract from the photographic interests like I was worried they might.

Anyway, I've enjoyed this book greatly and wanted to share it with anyone else who may be interested in photo-related reading. One big thing to note about this book, though, is the fact that there are NO PHOTOS. Seems strange for a book that's centered around photography, but I found that reviewing Jim's photos on the book's website gave me enough of a glimpse into his art and the fruits of all his adventures, so I didn't mind so much. This really is more of a biography than a book about photography anyway, but it was of interest to me just to find out how people get into photojournalism and what life might be like if one were lucky enough to be employed as such.

Here's some links for more info:
Book website w/ pictures (contains much flash)
Book trailer -part 1 (video on
Book trailer -part 2 (video on