By Renita Bennett
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Growing up for Jerry DiMattia wasn’t easy. He’s been through a lot in his young life but he’s overcome those obstacles to become the bright young adult he is today.

DiMattia is a 21-year-old college student. Throughout his childhood, he moved around a lot from Camden to Collingswood, Collingswood to Deptford, and Deptford back to Camden. His father left him at the mere age of 8 years old and his mother became heavily into drugs. Life with his mother entailed pain and heartache until at last he could not take it anymore. He moved in with his father at age 16.

He was much into skateboarding for it was essentially his life. He was even sponsored by various companies to skateboard at competitions. DiMattia thought this was his calling. But one broken ankle later, a turning point in his life, he would soon find his real destiny.

With the broken ankle came a camera. At first it didn’t mean much but quickly became something more to him. He found it as an outlet, or a way to express himself and what he felt deep inside.

After graduating 12th grade at Deptford High School, DiMattia enrolled into Camden County College and it was there he studied photography. He entered into various competitions held by the school’s art department and even sold his first self-portrait to the president of Camden County College.

Aaron James, a 31-year-old photojournalism major at Camden County College, would classify his friend DiMattia as unique, saying, “I don’t know many people like him.”

Jonathan Schoonover, age 20 and DiMattia’s close friend, would describe him as rough but honest and very talented. They instantly clicked when they met. He says, “Jerry says crazy inappropriate things, but I think that’s what makes him Jerry.”

From battling with drugs through high school to breaking his ankle and finding himself, DiMattia has managed to overcome and become a unique and sincere young man. If he could go back in time, he says, “I wouldn’t change anything about my life even if I could.” Hailing from a background that had no artistic ability and becoming the first in his family to graduate high school and go to college, relying solely on himself financially, he is definitely one of a kind.

He will be presenting his latest work of art, a self-portrait titled “A Long Night,” which will be on display at Camden County College’s 44th Annual Student Show, April 20.

“If you’re a photographer and you can’t show emotion, then what are you?” he asks.

Jerry DiMattia is finding success in photography. By Renita Bennett, CCC Journalism Program

Leave a Reply