Books

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Rock: Through the Lens: His Life, His Movies, His World,’ Photographs by Hiram Garcia

c.2020, St. Martin’s Press
$35
247 pages

Your favorite Hollywood star seems 10 feet tall.

After all, he’s bigger than life. Everybody knows him; he’s handsome and funny and, well, you’re pretty sure that if you ever met him, you’d probably be tongue-tied. After all, the man’s famous! So, would you be surprised, as in “The Rock: Through the Lens: His Life, His Movies, His World,” photographs by Hiram Garcia, to learn that your favorite star is a regular guy after all?

Hiram Garcia was just a freshman in high school back in 1991 but he was tall, often towering over the dudes his sister dated. And then she invited him to the University of Miami to meet her “new boyfriend” and she introduced Garcia to someone who was bigger than he was. He met a man he calls “DJ,” and a lifelong friendship was formed.

For nearly three decades, Dwayne Johnson, Garcia, and Garcia’s sister have “come together in many creative ways,” including through their production company, which is responsible for some of Johnson’s biggest films and small-screen programs. But, as this book shows, Johnson isn’t just the star of “Jungle Cruise” or “The Titan Games.” He’s also a pro wrestler, a father, and a guy who truly appreciates his fans — and that includes kids, a group that Garcia says Johnson particularly enjoys.

Both staged and candid pictures in this book show all those aspects of Johnson’s life, and more. Here, for example, you’ll see Johnson’s love of family, his wife and daughters, his ex-girlfriend, as well as in-laws and extended family.

There are many photos of “The Rock” in training, working out, and eating right. Readers will see what kind of work it takes to maintain a double-career and still have time for a personal life and “horsing around” with friends and colleagues. You’ll see Johnson’s fun side, and his fan side. And you’ll see how Garcia came to understand that taking snapshots of his buddy, “DJ,” could ultimately take a hobby to the next level.

Looking for something you can read quick? Here, it won’t take you long to get through “The Rock: Through the Lens: His Life, His Movies, His World” because there really isn’t much to read at all.

No, most of what photographer Hiram Garcia includes as narrative consists of captions to go along with the dozens of pictures of the man he calls “the ultimate entertainer.” Some of these captions are only a few words long, others have more explanation to them, but the truth is that readers likely won’t dwell on this aspect of the book.

Instead, the real reason to want this well-done coffee-table book is for the photos inside. They invite readers to linger, showing Johnson at his most pensive, enjoying his fans, and at work. The pictures appear to have been carefully chosen, and they won’t disappoint anyone ages 16 to adult. So, get “The Rock: Through the Lens: His Life, His Movies, His World,” especially if you love the guy. Because this is a fan’s book, after all …

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