Raised and based in Southern California’s Antelope Valley, photographer and graphic designer Camillo Longo (BFA 12 Photography and Imaging) finds inspiration for his striking photos everywhere, from sprawling national parks and tattooed motorcyclists to moths whose textured wings look like paintings.
A staff creative design manager at Learn4Life, a network of local public schools with a free high school diploma program, he also strikes a balance between his full-time design work and his photography, in addition to owning and operating small batch artisan coffee roasting company Artifice Coffee.
After studying photography at a local community college for a few years, Longo decided to boost his education. “I wanted to attend a college where I felt inspired by my colleagues,” he says. “After visiting the Student Gallery one time I knew that ArtCenter was that school.”
He applied to the College, was accepted, and he threw himself into creating gorgeously detailed and moody work, including close-up shots of colorful butterflies, moths and other insects in the 2012 course Still Life taught by Photography Associate Professor Paul Ottengheime (BFA 89).
Longo counts former Photography instructor Sam Davis, who taught courses including Color Photography, as a big, though tough, influence. “He definitely pushed me the most,” he says, “but I walked away learning the most about myself.” After graduating, Longo began working at Learn4Life while taking photos.
Shooting with Fujifilm X Series cameras, he uses limited light to convey mystery and depth in his images. His 2017 Escape series, part of a trilogy of projects titled Closure, Ghosts and Escape, depicts the fog and trees of the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains, where Longo became lost three years ago during a spontaneous hike. There, he contemplated his life.
“While lost, the fear of death became all too real,” Longo says. “I began seeking closure with myself, revisiting ghosts of my past to make peace. I eventually escaped and made it out of the woods safely.”