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He Swaps Legal Cases for Suitcases to Take Photos Around the Globe

June 20, 1993|CHRISTINA V. GODBEY

Eric Lawton has found a way enjoy the best of both worlds. Lawton is a Westside lawyer but also has traveled the globe as a photographer on assignment for publications including The New York Times Magazine and Conde Nast Traveler.

Although it is difficult to juggle a family, practice law and maintain an artistic career, Lawton says he wouldn't want it any other way.

"Finding a balance is an art in itself," said the 46-year-old Brentwood resident. "Law plays an important part in my life, but art is crucial to my existence. (Photography) gives me a chance to step out of the day-to-day (routine)."

As a child, Lawton became interested in travel from looking at photographs in Life magazine and reading Ernest Hemingway. After graduating from Loyola Marymount University Law School, he decided it was time to satisfy his wanderlust.

"I had gone through law school and, in 1972, I went to Europe to wait out the Bar results," he said. "I became fascinated with the ancient world and began taking photographs."

Lawton practiced law for four years before setting out again. His journey took him to more than 70 countries from the Middle East to the South Pacific, Asia and Africa. It was during his travels that he decided to get serious about photography.

"I thought it was my opportunity to see the world," he said. "It turned into a three-year journey and I found that photography was a way to express myself."

Earlier this year, Lawton sifted through his collection of more than 100,000 prints and published his first book, "The Soul of the World." Editor/writer Phil Cousineau matched Lawton's photographs with eclectic passages from writers Annie Dillard, D.H. Lawrence and Ralph Waldo Emerson, among others.

The book has an array of unusual images, ranging from the swirling waters of the Yangtze River to the gardens of the Taj Mahal and sands of the Sinai Desert. Lawton said he tried to re-create a sense of timelessness by mixing words and images.

"It is crucial to preserve the natural places of the Earth as a way to recalling the continuity of life," he said. "The ancient sites and sacred symbols of our world have left messages for us. . . . I hope that my work will serve as a reminder of our connection with time, and with the natural forces on the Earth."

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Steve and Patti Soboroff of Pacific Palisades were awarded the Abraham and Charlotte Winokur Community Service Award by Kehillath Israel Synagogue.

The couple were honored for their fund-raising efforts to refurbish the playground at Pacific Palisades Recreation Center Park. They received the award at a May 15 dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

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Hollywood resident Jean Turner was honored by Orthopaedic Hospital for her volunteer efforts.

Turner has volunteered 13,500 hours at the Los Angeles hospital. She works with crippled children.

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The Los Angeles mental health rehabilitation agency Portals paid tribute to longtime community philanthropists Jerry and Pat Epstein.

Jerry Epstein, former president of the Board of Airport Commissioners for the city of Los Angeles, is also a member of the board of trustees for St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica.

Pat Epstein, a sculptor, is a member of the Irene Dunne Guild, a support group for the hospital.

They were recognized at the 38th Annual Golden Bell Awards Dinner May 11 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.

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Heal the Bay honored Mayor Tom Bradley and the Lloyd Bridges family at the organization's annual "Bring Back the Beach Fund-raiser."

Mayor Bradley and the Bridges clan (Lloyd, Dorothy, Jeff, Susan, Wendy, Beau, Lucinda Bridges Cunningham and James Cunningham) were honored for outstanding service to the community and helping to foster a better understanding of Heal the Bay's goals.

The tribute was held at a dinner last month at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.

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