Thursday December 01, 2016

Donato Di Camillo explores the lives of people on the fringes of society through photography

Photographer Donato Di Camillo

Photographer Donato Di Camillo

Listen 15:03

As social media becomes increasingly popular, it seems perfectly staged photos are what garner success in the economy of likes, but not for Donato Di Camillo. Di Camillo believes we are all connected through our adversity. "Everybody I photograph is part of me," he says and his photography reimagines the way we view people who are on the fringes of society.

Di Camillo's portraits often feature the poor or disfigured, but he says, "I'm kind of photographing what's inside of me as well." In 2011, Di Camillo was released from prison and he explains how he can relate to the challenges and loss his subjects have experienced.

Bird Call

Bird Call (Donato Di Camillo)

While in prison, Di Camillo would read issues of National Geographic since it was challenging to find books on photography. "In prison you find all kinds of talented people," says Di Camillo, "opera singers and artists that can draw portraits within a half hour, perfectly flawless portraits. It's just amazing the amount of talent that you see in these prison systems."

Di Camillo credits his street smarts with his ability to be able to identify who to approach for his photography.  "I read people very well," he says and sometimes it may take him years to photograph one person because it takes that long to get to know them. In the end, Di Camillo feels we all just want to fit and he says he just wants to photograph "what I know and what I feel and what I believe to be true."

WEB EXTRA | Check out more of Donato Di Camillo's photography below.

A Peak Inside

A Peak Inside (Donato Di Camillo)

Grapefruit Diet

Grapefruit Diet (Donato Di Camillo)

Beach Loafers

Beach Loafers (Donato Di Camillo)

*The full audio will be added to this post following the broadcast.