Saturday, February 20, 2010’s #1 Best Selling Photo Essay, 25 Lessons I’ve Learned (about photography) is now available for the BlackBerry’s #1 Best Selling Photo Essay, 25 Lessons I’ve Learned (about photography) is now available for the BlackBerry
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

With the release of a Kindle application for BlackBerry phones today,’s #1 Best Selling Photo Essay, 25 Lessons I’ve Learned (about photography) is now available for the Kindle, iPhone, iPod touch, PC and now BlackBerry. Amazon has also promised to release applications for the and soon, Mac and iPad soon.

The free "Kindle for Blackberry” app lets customers with BlackBerry devices access Kindle books. Users can browse Amazon's catalog, check out the beginning of an e- book before buying it and read books in color.

"Since the launch of our popular Kindle for iPhone app last year, customers have been asking us to bring a similar experience to the BlackBerry, and we are thrilled to make it available today," said Ian Freed, vice president, Amazon Kindle, in a statement today.

Kindle is the most wished for, most gifted and #1 bestselling product on, and customers can now get the Kindle experience on their BlackBerry by downloading the free app at

25 Lessons I’ve Learned (about photography) is #1 bestselling Photo Essay on and is available HERE.

Get the Kindle for iPhone and iPod touch FREE at Apple’s App Store.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Art Against All Odds: An Interview with NYC Photographer Helena de Vengoechea

Art Against All Odds: An Interview with NYC Photographer Helena de Vengoechea
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

(Originally published February 18, 2010 on The Examiner.)

In February 1993, photographer Helena de Vengoechea was 18 years old and was about to start her last semester of high school.

Like many other seniors, Helena had every intention of finishing high school with a flourish.

She was excited about the prospects of going away for college, especially since it meant that she would be leaving her small town in Connecticut.

To ensure her fateful departure, she applied to several schools, not leaving anything to chance.

However, Helena was naturally rife with exuberance and she couldn’t wait until May to leave. Thus, she spontaneously decided to take a short road trip with her boyfriend.

The trip would change her life forever.

For on the way back, they would end up in a car accident that would put Helena in a coma for ten days and keep her in the hospital for a month.

Although it would take three bouts of clinical depression and a good five years to fully recover, Helena was not only an optimist, but she was as stubborn, as she was naturally driven to succeed.

“So, when the doctor adamantly told me ‘Helena, don’t go to college,’ I had no choice but to go to college,” she explained with a smile, one Saturday morning over coffee and tea.

Helena was born on March 7, 1975, in Caracas, Venezuela and lived there until she was five when her family was transplanted to Connecticut.

She is now 34 years old and lives in New York City, working full-time as a freelance photographer and graphic designer.

17 years ago a life-threatening accident wrenched her out of a life that many of us are not only apt to take for granted, but are apt to follow blindly – college, a stable corporate job, marriage, kids, a house in the suburbs, and years of dissatisfaction, because we never followed our bliss.

That’s why, although she’s been through her share of disappointments, today, Helena is pursuing her dreams.

“I’m giving myself two more years to make it as a full-time photographer in New York City,” she conveyed with the same kind of conviction that many young dreamers have when they first move to New York City.

Yet, Helena is a veteran, with no delusions. “I know this will not be an easy journey, it has already been a rather bumpy road. But despite all my harrowing and weary-for-the-worn experience, the biggest lesson I’ve learned, is always pursue your dream. Because, for a long time now, I’ve felt that I’ve been running away. I’ve felt that because I’ve been afraid, because of a lack of money, because I’ve feared my art would not pay off. So, I’ve avoided doing what I have long wanted to do.”

“But now I know. I don’t want to look back 20 years from now, and know that I didn’t at least try. That’s why I know that if I don’t do this now, I may never actually do it. I’m single, I have no children, no husband, and I want to share my work, my Discreet Messages. I want to have a positive influence on society.”

So far, Helena has had ten exhibitions in New York City and she has had an impressive list of clients including Polo Ralph Lauren, Cosmopolitan, Allure, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, City magazine and more.

Most recently, one of her pieces was displayed at the Jack Shainman Gallery, which hosted an art benefit to raise money for the RHM Foundation.

Despite all the obstacles, Helena has long kept her eye on the prize.

“I distinctly remember when I was first given a camera by my parents in middle school, seventh grade. I remember how my father would be angry with me because I often ran up his pharmacy bill with all the photos I got developed.”

“I took pictures of everything – nature, friends, family – and then I would design collages out of them. It was both the beginning of my career as a photographer and a graphic designer.”

And although, at first, she pursued a relatively “safe” college degree in Spanish, she eventually switched and ended up pursuing her true passion – photography.

“Although I almost went to school in Michigan, I ended up going to the University of Colorado at Boulder. I had mountains, nature, and my older brother, Rafael, had gone to school there. Moreover, the university had 25,000 students, which I thought would be a world of difference from the town I grew up in, which only had 9,000 residents. Alas, I was wrong, because Colorado was just as homogenous as Connecticut was, if not more so.”

Nonetheless, Helena has traveled extensively since then. And having lived in New York City for a number of years now, she’s been exposed to one of the most diverse centers for commerce, art and culture that the world has to offer.

"At first, what initimidated me most about pursuing my passion, was that my Dad had long told me that there was ‘no money in art.’ He had studied architecture at Cornell and had grand aspirations of being a great architect. But then – he got married and had three kids. He soon realized that he could not support his family by being an architect, which is why he ended up working at Xerox for the next 25 years.”

“Furthermore, in 1995, I distinctly remember the moment I found myself developing some film in a darkroom, because I was having an exhibition in Denver, and I had an epiphany that would direct me for many years to come – I didn’t want to end up being a starving artist.”

“Thus, after an internship in New York City at an architecture firm, where I ended up taking a lot of photos of interiors for the company, I went back to school and switched my major to creative advertising. Ultimately, I graduated with a BA in creative advertising, and a minor in art history. After that, I worked for a year in Boulder, at Sterling Rice Group as a production artist.”

Eventually though, Helena would get the creative itch again, knowing she was destined for more. “I went back to school for graphic design, at the Parsons School of Design and completed a two-year degree in a year and a half.”

“I ended up freelancing as a graphic artist for two years at places like Estee Lauder, Scholastic, The Gap, Avon, and Ann Taylor. But all the while, I knew that my passion has always been in photography.”

Yet, much the same as freelancers are experiencing today with the recession, jobs and assignments can be hard to come by when the economy is not doing well, as it was doing as a result of 9.11 and the subsequent crash of the economy.

Thus, Helena decided to take a job with Ralph Lauren in 2002. “I was hired to prep and present the children’s line in NYC. But then I burned out, which is when I began to volunteer my time and services with the company’s charity work. I ended up documenting many of their charity events with my camera, which ignited a fire which I had quelled too long for the sake of prudence.”

And although it would take a few more years for her to leave the safety and comfort of the corporate job, in 2006 she decided that she had to make the leap somehow.

“I saw an advertisement for a photography workshop being held by Mary Virginia Swanson, in Santa Fe, New Mexico titled ‘Target Your Market.’

“‘Swanee’ (as she is affectionately known by many of her students), was a huge inspiration to me. I spent an incredibly motivating week there and learned how to market my work, how to build websites, how to network, as well as the importance of joining photography organizations, participating in portfolio reviews, and entering competitions.”

“As a result, I’ve been a member of ,En Foco for three years now, which exhibited my work, Discreet Messages in Latin America, at the Vantage Point Gallery at ICP at The Point CDC
from November 2007-January 2008 in NYC.”

After she returned fired up from the workshop, she made up her mind to leave Ralph Lauren in order to pursue her career as a photographer full time. It would take another year before she had the resources to do so, but eventually she resigned in 2006.

With her savings and the generous support of her parents, she’s been in hot pursuit of her dreams ever since.

And despite the harsh economy, which has hurt everyone, especially freelance artists, Helena has relied on her natural swell of optimism and exuberance to keep going.

“I get up every morning at 5:30 and either go to gym or start working. As a result, every day flies by, because I have this certain passion and vision. Apart from regular exercise and being driven to work, I’ve got a lot of optimism, faith, and love to motivate me. It’s in me, it’s part of my spirit. Especially, since I know I’ve been through hell already, and was fortunate enough to come back. So, its very hard for me to not want to make the most of my life. Because I know it was given back to me for a reason.”

“That’s why I want to share my work with the world. I want others to see what I’ve seen and to hopefully, be motivated to see and think differently because of the messages that I find on the streets and I have long loved to take pictures of. I want others to learn and grow from them, just as I have.”

For more information about Helena V. de Vengoechea’s work:

To keep up to date on what’s up, what’s new and who’s notable in photography and the art world in New York City, subscribe to my column by clicking on Subscribe to Email on!

Monday, February 1, 2010

25 Lessons I've Learned (about photography) is now the #1 bestselling Photo Essay on!

25 Lessons I've Learned (about photography) is now the #1 bestselling Photo Essay on!
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Click here to purchase the Kindle version of 25 Lessons for $2.50 on Amazon!

25 Lessons I've Learned is now the #1 bestselling kindle Photo Essay on!

New York City, February 1, 2010:

Thank you to all my flickr friends and supporters, my book, 25 Lessons I've Learned (about photography) is now the #1 bestselling Photo Essay on!

Please continue to show your support by telling all your family and friends, especially those with Kindles, iPhone and iTouches. A Kindle ap is available for these devices and more!

25 LESSONS I'VE LEARNED (about photography) SYNOPSIS

In his best-selling book, Lorenzo describes how the deceptively simple rules of photography can also be applied to the art of living. Inspirational and poetic, this book will not only spark readers’ creative energies, but also reawaken your passion for life.

In 2005, as a husband, father, and corporate employee — Lorenzo's life revolved around home, work, and his daily commute from the suburbs to the city.

Then, one day, he found himself staying at the Little Church in midtown Manhattan in the wake of a marital separation. Living in virtual isolation for three months, he had a rare chance to re-examine his life.

Quite unexpectedly, he found himself wandering around the city to take photographs, a passion he had let slide in the years of pursuing a career and starting a family. During his nightly sojourns through the streets of New York City, he was reminded of some important life lessons—lessons too easily forgotten in the blur of everyday existence.


“In many of my conversations on great photographers, I frequently mention Lorenzo’s work. His sequential photographs…are nothing less that a visual urban poem. It has been my pleasure to watch Lorenzo’s rapid growth as a leading photographer of our time.” Jim Van Meter, Rochester, NY, USA

“Lorenzo is a master. His body of work is some of the very best online and may very well be some of the best being done in the medium today. His street work follows in the tradition of Paul Strand, Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand and Larry Friedlander. Lorenzo’s 25 Lessons are…as seminal as Ansel’s dissertation on the zone system. I found them to be reenergizing, perceptive and extremely useful. I have been touched by his story, his writings and by his work. I can’t imagine anyone not being so.” Barry Shapiro, Los Angeles, CA, USA

“Lorenzo…has a passion for life, photography and writing. He is a linguistic genius, a storyteller through words and pictures. He captures with his camera the world as he sees it, its feelings, love, beauty and all it has to offer...” Brenda George, Adelaide, Australia


Lorenzo is an author on street photography, and an award-winning photographer.

As the Photography Examiner for New York for the, Lorenzo chronicles what’s up, what’s new and what’s notable in the world of photography in New York City.

In 2008, he was chosen to be the HP Be Brilliant Featured Artist ( ) and he became the best-selling author of 25 Lessons I’ve Learned (about photography).

Since taking up digital photography in 2005, his photography has been featured in fotoMAGAZIN, Germany's premier photo magazine, and his photos have been cited, posted and published by over 330 other blogs, websites, and print publications.

Today, Lorenzo has over 30,000 photographs published on —one of the world's most popular photography websites—where his photos have been seen over 5.5 million times and where he ranks as one of the site's most popular photographers. He has been called an "Internet photography sensation" by Time Out New York and is considered a "Flickr star" by Rob Walker, Consumed columnist, for New York Times Magazine.