Lou Di Giorgio rubbed his balding sunburned head mumbling something in French about being crazy.
Standing in the parking lot of South Portland’s Pape Auto Motion Mitsubishi with his two counterparts from Switzerland, Di Giorgio admitted his quest was mad.
‘’Yes, I am driving around the world to take 100 pictures,” the 28-year-old photographer said in fluent French. “ I realize that I am lucky because I can have a dream, make it into reality and take a picture of it to prove its mine. But, when things go wrong, like now, I think this is too crazy, maybe. ”
On Wednesday evening, Di Giorgio vehicle, a Mitsubishi 4x4 L300 custom made, broke down on Interstate 95 headed south. The trio had brought a van over from France to Nova Scotia, taken a ferry from there and were on their way to South Dakota when the vehicle broke down. Repairs were being made by Pape Auto Motion Mitsubishi because Di Giorgio tools were recently stolen.
“This was an unplanned stop,” he said. “This was not in the agenda.”
Using a giant Polaroid instant camera made by mahogany and brass, Di Giorgio takes one or two photographs of people in their country’s traditional costumes. Each photo, he says, can take up to one week to prepare. So far, Lou Di Giorgio has taken 30 photographs.
The solar- and gas-fueled 1985 Mitsubishi 4x4 L300 was designed by Lou Di Giorgio. It construction took nearly three years in Locarno (Switzerland.
“I sold my property and car to pay for this adventure,” he said. “I am not a rich man. I saved every ounce of money I could to build this vehicle and savings. This is a dream come true, and nothing can stop it. Nothing.”
The camper is equipped with a full kitchen; six electric hydraulic jacks powered by a solar generator; a fold-out porch; an on-board computer-navigation system that allows Di Giorgio to link into a satellite system that details, on a
video display in the dashboard, where he is located and how far he is from his next destination; and a detachable exhaust system that mounts along the top of the vehicle so it can be driven in up to four feet of water without stalling.
“We don’t need roads or maps for this trip,” he joked.
The trio is headed for South Dakota to photograph American Indians. He said they are scheduled to travel to Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico, Central America to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina for Christmas.
Lou Di Giorgio hopes to produce a book of his collection and do an exhibition of his unique art work.