When you think of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, you can have one of several images in your mind: wrestler, actor, potential President of the United States. But no matter what image you have, there’s a chance that image you are thinking of has been captured by Hiram Garcia, the man behind a new photo book, The Rock: Through the Lens: His Life, His Movies, His World.

Caption from the book: In the ring when The Rock returned to the WWE in 2011.

In the book, Garcia – Johnson’s long-time friend, business partner, and brother of Johnson’s ex-wife Dany Garcia – chronicles every aspect of Johnson’s life, both personally and professionally. While that kind of access into anyone’s life, much less that of a global superstar is rare, Garcia certainly had the inside track.

“I’ve known DJ (Dwayne Johnson) since I was 15-years-old,” Garcia told SlamWrestling.net in an exclusive interview. “I’ve been photographing him for about 20 years at this point.  It started with me just occasionally taking photos when we were together and it only picked up more over time.”

Although his position as President of Production for Seven Bucks Production, a production company created and founded by Johnson and Dany Garcia, keeps him busy as one of Hollywood’s most prolific producers, Garcia was personally compelled to devote the time and attention into the project, given his closeness to the subject.

“Initially,” he explained, “I wanted to gift DJ with a photo. There’s nothing harder than finding the perfect gift for one of the world’s biggest movie stars, so I was thinking I would give him a photo of one of our crazy memories together. But as I was flipping through (the pictures), there were just so many great photos and memories I hadn’t looked at in ages.  I (was) flipping through the files, just laughing and reminiscing.”

“I thought there was something here that fans might also like from the many stories we had from being on this crazy journey together. So I ran with it.”

He took the idea to St. Martin’s Press, and Garcia and the team there spent the last two years bringing the project to fruition.

“(We started) with approximately 500 images, and then I whittled away from there with my editor,” Garcia said, describing the process.  “Two years later, we collectively found the story we wanted to tell through the images, and I’m very happy with what we settled on.”

Caption from the book: On location in Glamis, California, for Jumanji: The Next Level.

“(DJ) was involved throughout the entire process. It was very important for me (that he) feel good about the story, so he was a big part of the creation of the book. When I showed him the final product, he was blown away.”

An important aspect of the book for Garcia was being able to present Johnson in a way that shows who he is when the spotlight is turned off.

“(That’s) the takeaway I wanted people to have from this book. Despite being the biggest movie star in the world, at DJ’s core, he’s just one of us,” Garcia said. “A regular guy who you can (have a drink) with, and who you’ll come away from saying, ‘Wow, he’s a really good guy.’ (That he’s not) just a ‘larger than life’ persona.”

Indeed, one of Garcia’s favourite photos in the book exemplifies those two sides of Johnson: a photo of him meeting legendary comic book creator Stan Lee.

Caption from the book: When DJ first broke into Hollywood, he met Stan Lee, who greeted him with open arms. Stan knew DJ had something special to give to the world and expected big things from him. Many years later, I [Hiram Garcia] was able to capture them reuniting as Stan heaped praise onto DJ for how proud he was of him and all his accomplishments. I love this image because you can see DJ humbled by Stan’s warmth and kindness. Stan was one of the all-time greats and our world is a better place because of him and the creativity he inspired us to conjure. RIP Stan.

“It was such as sweet moment,” he said about Johnson’s meeting Lee. “Stan was one of the first people to welcome DJ into Hollywood, and he told him early on how he would do big things. This moment, with Stan heaping praise on DJ, and (seeing) how humbled DJ was, it was such an incredible moment. (On a personal level), it was such an honour for me to meet Lee, since I was a huge comic book fan growing up, with dreams of making a superhero movie, and Stan Lee is behind so much of that.”

Caption from the book: DJ and me [Hiram Garcia] in Glamis, California, near the Acolita Dunes Wilderness for Jumanji: The Next Level. This image is a significant one, not only because it was the last day of shooting a very special movie, but it was our last day of work on the craziest production runs DJ and I had ever experienced. We were coming off shooting HBO’s Ballers, Disney’s Jungle Cruise, NBC’s The Titan Games, Hobbs & Shaw, and Jumanji: The Next Level — we were proud of all that we did, but also absolutely exhausted. Photo by Frank Masi.

Other photos feature Johnson in the ring, on movie sets, and sharing quiet, tender moments with his family.

Those latter moments in particular are ones that fans don’t always get to see, and for Garcia, were really important for the book.

“My goal,” he noted, “was just to give a really special look into his life.  Even though DJ is so generous and open to (his fans) through his social media, I wanted to provide a different perspective. One that people don’t usually get to see.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Keep checking SlamWrestling.net for a review of The Rock: Through the Lens: His Life, His Movies, His World coming soon!