A New Zealand author offers a collection of photographs and verse.
Valentine makes her debut with this slim volume that showcases 15 of her color photos, each of which is overlaid with inspirational or motivational verse. For example, the author writes over a photo of a sculpture by the shoreline: “FREEDOM—To live, To explore & To be yourself. Be Open to the possibilities.” Each of the photo pages is followed by a brief piece revealing something about Valentine’s travels and adventures—vacation cruises, her time spent working in England, a couple of unfortunate liaisons. Readers learn that early on she built a career as a makeup artist in the movie and television industries, but discover nothing about her professional endeavors following that. Yet one poem toward the end gives a glimpse of her complicated ancestry: “Descendants of a royal Polynesian King / it’s my duty to learn of my privileged upbringing.” Valentine writes of her eclectic experiences with joyful abandon in this whimsical collection. Here she describes the two years she spent working in London: “I made heaps of money, travelled through Europe, and got to try cocaine—just a taste. I joined a vampire society group and wore gothic clothes, gained another tattoo.” The photos themselves are rather lovely scenic images that convey a sense of tranquility—primarily flowers, shorelines, and intriguing bits of architecture. While sharing only snippets of her life, the author nonetheless comes across as a happy rebel, endearingly self-deprecating even while exuding a sense of confidence: “As I see life, have no regrets. Play safe. Try everything at least once, within reason.” Some readers may find the text overlays a bit intrusive, making the photos appear more like greeting cards than works of art, and reminding them of the small volumes of photos and musings often found at bookstore checkout counters. Yet the overall effect is to create a moment of calm, a call to pause for reflection.
A pleasantly quirky volume, sprinkled with humorous observations and attractive photos.