When Donato Di Camilo was a child, his family could not bear the film for his Polaroid camera. Instead, of pretending to be a hotshot photographer on an African safari, he ran around the house with a film-less camera, which was mimicking the heroes behind the iconic photographs seen in National Geographic magazines, his father grabbed him out of the garbage.
After a few years, when Di Camilo found himself in jail after collecting a long rap sheet of theft, he discovered a library full of those identical magazines. While other prisoners were working or in trouble, Di Camilo looked at the issues of national geographic, life and time. He was in the pure fear of photography placed inside his pages. When Di Camillo gets out of prison, he knew what he wants to do next.
As he is free from prison now so he can try his hand on his own brand of photography and with some guidance from some books reading during locked up and some YouTube tutorials, he went to work. Very next, it was understood he had lots of talent and he starts to capture a different side of life than what many people are used to seeing. Di Camillo sometimes calls it “the fringe,” though he said it’s important to him that people know he means no disrespect by that.
Di Camillo subjects are often homeless, mentally sick, or just suffer from life characters he encounters as he explores New York. De Camilo said that their street monuments sometimes help him contact and connect with those people other photographers might not. Di Camillo says “I want to understand that the reason I’m photographing them is that I see something in them that I see in me, or that I think the rest of the world could relate to”.