Where war photography and pornography meet

The subjects of pornography and war pull you in just as much as the flashy bright pink lines on the black background of Combat Camera’s cover. Written by A.J. Somerset, Camera brings characters alive, brings their problems into focus and makes them relatable. The people that populate the story seem to ooze personality and Somerset’s ability to describe what is happening gives a sense of reality to his words.

The book focuses on Lucas Zane, a mentally and physically battered war photographer who ends up jobless in Toronto. He eventually finds himself working as a photographer for a pornography business, which is just as traumatic as his time spent embedded overseas, though in a different way.

Zane eventually grows close to a stripper called Melissa and they both find what they are looking for in each other.

The text is heavy at its core, dealing with abuse and wounds that never healed. Though the book is dark, one can find truthful humour in Somerset’s writing — specifically in his character developments and Zane’s odd ramblings.

This is a marvelously researched piece, which helps contribute to the sense of realism. Through Zane’s experiences, we get attached to the story. His ability to describe war zones and camera controls shows his vast knowledge and gives the characters substance.

A.J. Somerset has a way to make you believe his story with his descriptions on developing a roll of film in a bath tub to the turmoil one could face after seeing war first hand. The narrative drags you in further and further into a life few ever see, with characters that are totally believable.

Somerset creates a thrilling, fast paced and engaging book that can also teach you a thing or two about cameras.