Life may not always go as planned. But despite plans changing entirely and forever, some among us manage to conquer our dreams against all odds. This is the story of such a man. A man that did not let a prison sentence jail his passion for photography.
According to Upworthy, a series of thefts and petty crimes led Donato Di Camillo into the prison, but he did a lot more there than simply serving his time. With the help of literature he discovered at the prison library, he taught himself photography and the world subsequently found a talented artist.
When he got out of prison in 2011, Di Camillo knew exactly what he wanted to do and he went straight to work. Equipped merely with his learnings from old issues of National Geographic, Life and Time magazines, how-to books and YouTube tutorial videos, he proved his talent to the world and to himself.
When Di Camillo was a child, his family could not even afford film for their polaroid camera. But even in his dire circumstances, young Donato used to pretend with his film-less camera to be on an African safari, capturing magnificent beasts in all their natural beauty, and dreamed of someday being one of the iconic behind-the-lens heroes of the world.
Once out of prison, he set out in New York with a camera, to capture a side of life distinctly different from what most of us are used to seeing.
Donato's subjects are often homeless, mentally-ill, interesting characters or just anything but ordinary from around the city. He mentions that his street smarts and his time on the outside of conventional society were key in helping him approach and connect with people that other photographers may have struggled with.
"These people walk around, and they're faceless," he said. "I feel that everybody deserves a face."
"I think we all relate to each other in one way or another, whether someone's laying in the street or running a Fortune 500 company," Di Camillo added.
He doesn't care too much for other people's response to his work. He believes that not everyone will get it, and that's okay.
De Camillo wants his subjects to know that the reason he photographs them is because he sees something in them that he sees in himself, or the rest of the world could see in themselves.
He remains true to his cause of showing people what they often don't see, be it incidentally or on purpose, and he's certainly proud of the impact his work has had on his life.