Photographer of the week: Chris Pizzitola

The thought of hitting the road has always been in my mind. An adventure you wouldn’t be able to refuse. Something fun to do, but as I am a control freak, I would need some time to prepare the drive ahead. Where would I sleep? Where would I eat? What should I see?

But sometimes, you aren’t there to make a decision. Life forces you to continue a particular path, and everyone knows you can’t say no to the signs. It’s all about the ones that surround you. And Chris Pizzitola decided to follow them.

Everything started pretty typically. He went to Utah for work. Then, work needed him only for a day, so he decided to sleep on a friend’s boat in Marina Del Rey, a girl he would have to photograph in the morning. Morning came, waves were pumping, but in Malibu. Not in Oxnard, where he was supposed to meet the girl. We all know that surfers follow the waves, and surf photographers are probably the ones that are touched by it the most. It’s after a quick call to her that the photo shoot was canceled, and an idea appeared in his head: to go north.

‘’Checking the spots on the way, waves weren’t good, and I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted. I decided to drive to Big Sur and see what’s going on over there. Everyone kept telling me that the further north I would go, the nicer it would get. So that’s what I did. I drove and kept driving. I was too far now to come back,’’ said Chris. Having the chance (well, it’s a choice) to be part of the military, Chris was able to find a spot on a military base for the night, which was pretty cheap. On the next day, the plan was still the same and going north was always his goal. That’s how he found himself in San Francisco, the city that host the famous Golden Gate Bridge and exhausting streets that look like hills. After photographing the bridge and walking around a bit, the essential was already seen, and it was the time to go back home. At least, that’s what he thought.

‘’It was funny because I turned around and started going home, but the road was close. There was a cop there, blocking the way. He was pretty clear, ‘’you need to continue up north and turn around, the road is close here’’. What the hell is happening? I took that as a sign, so I stopped, filled my car with gas and continued up north like the officer said. It was weird because the whole trip wasn’t planned, but it was inspiring, seeking to shoot stuff all by myself. I usually don’t take the time to enjoy the ride and stop to places I want to. But alone, I was doing anything I wanted’’.

Sleeping in his car quickly became a routine that didn’t scare him off, and the road itself was offering him a whole different meaning of life. What if the cop telling him that he couldn’t go south meant that his adventure was supposed to be? It’s crazy to go on a trip without knowing what to expect, with no cell phone reception and no ideas where the road will lead you. While stopping in a random city and walking in an art gallery, Chris met a photographer that inspired him and gave him good tips about infrared cameras. ‘’You need to go back up there, you need to explore. Get to work,’’ said the guy. ‘’He really inspired me and while thinking about what should I do, I realized that I had the time, and I had the money, so there’s nothing that force me to go back home right now. The thing is, I didn’t have my passport with me. I called my mom, asked her to ship it to Washington for the next day while reassuring her with promises to be careful on the road. I also asked her to mail me one of my credit cards, just in case something happened. Fortunately, I didn’t end up using it. Thankfully to my passport, I was able to continue my trip to another country: Canada.’’

We should live with the simple rule of the first. Always doing something for the first time to remind us that we’re alive. Leaving the USA to continue his adventure to Canada was a first, and maybe this is why it was that great. After staying in a hostel downtown Vancouver, Chris started walking around and asking people where he should go next. What’s worth to see? Vancouver was like a small Los Angeles, not exactly what he wanted. Everyone came out with the same answer: Tofino. He followed their choice and started driving towards the signs that were saying Vancouver Island. He eventually found the ferry, which was leading him to a four hours’ drive afterwards. The surf wasn’t as good as expected on the first day, with no waves at all. He ate out and talked with a guy, shared shots together and explained his whole trip. 
The day after, the surf was good, and he fell onto the guy from the night before. ‘’Come by, have some lunch’’, he told him. And that’s always how the greatest friendship starts with – a random encounter. ‘’We stayed there for three hours, and we started drinking beers. Then, another guy from the night before arrived and joined us. They invited me to their place to keep drinking beer, and that’s how I ended drunk, haha! They told me I could crash on their couch as long as I wanted, so that’s what I did for five days. One of the guy I stayed with had just quit his job, so it was cool because the whole time we were going on adventures and he was telling me everything I had to know. I stayed for five days, and I felt like I saw a lot of what that city has to offer. I was done with it. I didn’t even say goodbye, I went up in my car and drove. And from there, I was heading back home.’’

Dropping from all his classes at school wasn’t supposed to lead him to an adventure, but to a work training in Alaska. Indeed, life is surprising on many aspects and going up north was something he was planning to do anyway, so enjoying the ride was simply a choice.

‘’I have the opportunity in front of me to do what I always wanted to do, but I refused some opportunities before because I needed to sit in a classroom. So I decided to stop school. And now, I am trying to shape my dreams!’’

Oh, yea, I forgot to tell you, he’s our photographer of the week. You may understand why as soon as you will dig through his photos from his trip – he’s talented, but mainly, he’s passionate. Chris is one of the few that want to connect with people that follow his works and his adventures. He wants the raw stuff, something real. Going up north was his way to reconnect with photography and with the world itself. Who knows what’s going to be next?