I am also Shocked to hear that from him. Where is that practice common among Muslims? Popular opinion of the Ulama on masturbation is that the practice is completely HARAM with no second thinking. This is based on the verse in the Suratul Mu'minun where Allah, The Almighty says:
" ........Who abstain from sex, Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (in their case) they are free from blame..."
So the believers only satisfy there desires through those means listed. And Allah added that whosoever chooses anyother means is a transgressor!
Concerning watching ponograpic pictures, that one I would say the person that made the statement is ignorant of the Shari'ah. I believe you all know about the hadeeth of the Prophet that prayed for Allah's cousre on whoever look at somebody's aurah and also course those that shows there aurah. So I suggest that Brother should be made to understand all these and other plenty verses and hadeethes related to that. Allah knows best.