In 1991, I lived in my truck the whole year. I was selling espresso out of my truck. These were the early days where America had just discovered coffee drinks, like the cappuccino. Because my family is Italian, I grew up with that stuff.
The outdoor life. We all want it but few have pursued it with such genuine passion and commitment as Dan and Janine Patitucci. We chatted with Dan just before his trip to Morocco about how he began his journey and what tips he has for those looking to chart their own course.
The following was transcribed directly from our phone conversation.
“I guess it started with climbing. I started climbing in 1988 and fell in love with it. I moved into my little truck with my camper shell and was on the road for several years. Climbing. A lot. I was really into sport climbing at the time.
I’m originally from Sacramento, CA, so I started climbing in Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. I became a “dirt bag” in the late 80’s; in ‘91 I lived in my truck the whole year. I was selling espresso out of my truck, these were the early days where America had just discovered coffee drinks, like the cappuccino. Because my family is Italian, I grew up with that stuff. I had the stovetop espresso pot, stovetop steamer, and was making cappuccinos for people at climbing areas and selling them in the morning. I was making mochas, but with bodybuilder protein, climbers at that time were totally into it. I was barely getting by; it was just this great time.
I had some sponsors, and they wanted me to shoot photos and do slideshows for REI. Climbing was so foreign, nobody really knew anything about it. So I started shooting photos and really liked it. As the years went by I started to manage a climbing gym in Davis and Beth Rodden, little Beth Rodden, was one of our junior climbers and she and I became really good friends. When she became phenomenal I started traveling with and shooting a lot of photos of her. I started selling my first photos in the mid-nineties, I was shooting Dan Osman and worked with Eric Perlman of “Masters of Stone” fame; that kind of stuff. I was totally in the climbing scene.
I convinced Janine to move into our Westfalia. I’m so proud that I somehow managed to convince a Swiss girl to move into a car with a guy with no money and no degree to take up outdoor industry photography as a career, when she had everything going for her!
So we did it. We lived in our Westfalia for two years just driving around and shooting. We made contacts and got some work and the doors started opening. All of sudden we started getting assignments from magazines; we worked a lot with Patagonia for years, they really supported us. Because Janine is Swiss we were going back and forth between the US and Switzerland. We lived in Bishop, CA until in 2007 I decided I wanted to live in Europe full time. We lived in the Dolomites for five years, and now we’ve settled for good in Switzerland. Still doing the same stuff, still in the mountains basically every day of the year, together. I couldn’t do it without her, and she couldn’t do it without me.”