The Oakland Post

Student tells 100 Life Lessons with self-published book

AuJenee Hirsch, Chief Copy Editor

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Wallet? Check. Keys? Check. Phone? Check. Backpack? Check. Laptop? Check. Camera? Check.

Everyday, senior Dennis London makes sure he leaves his house with these six “necessities.” As a photographer, London carries his camera and laptop around because “I’m married to my work.”

“I’m always working,” he said. “If I’m sitting down, there’s no reason for me to not work on some photos.”

Majoring in photography, London found his love for “capturing the moment” after taking an imaging class his senior year of high school. After his teacher, Peg Pasternak, felt he had a knack for taking photos, she gave him a camera and encouraged him to continue with his work.

“My teacher surprised me one day when she came to my house, herself,” London said. “So, I walk in and I see my teacher in my kitchen. I’m thinking, ‘What the f*ck did I do?’ She tells me she’s giving me her brother’s camera, and she tells me that she wants me to continue taking pictures because I’m going to do great things with it.”

Since that day, London has continued picking up the camera and having photo shoots with various people in metro Detroit.

“My favorite shot has to be this one picture of my home girl Deja,” he said. “It’s basically just her and sunflowers. I love it because I made that junk right around the beginning of the winter, but the look was so warm and springlike.”

About six years ago, London began to experience suicidal thoughts and decided to end his own life. The attempt failed.

“Hey, man, sh*t gets hard,” London said. “I was at a point where I just felt completely disconnected from myself and everything around me. It was like that for a minute, and it didn’t seem like things were going to get better.”

One year after his attempt, London picked up a camera and learned what photography really was. The passion is one of the reasons he was able to overcome his struggles.

“We all have trials and tribulations,” he said. “You just have to trust in yourself and know you’re going to make it by understanding yourself and understanding where you stand not just in your life, but in God’s intentions for your life.”

Now at the age of 23, London has become an author with his book “100 Life Lessons.” The idea for the book came to him while he was studying for a final exam.

“I was studying for a final exam for my health science class, and I remember thinking, ‘This is stupid because this is not going to help me in life,'” London said. “Knowing how many calories the human body needs in a day is not going to help me in life. So, I just started writing down stuff that I actually learned in real life experiences that actually helped me. I started writing it in my iPhone and from there I started putting it on paper.”

“100 Life Lessons” is a self-published book that features a combination of quotes paired with photos London has taken throughout his photography career. The book is currently only available in the Apple bookstore as an eBook but physical copies are coming soon.

“Just remember to live life,” London said. “No matter what you do there’s a consequence. Just make a decision and run with it.”

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