The negatively-charged nitrogen-vacancy (NV-) center in diamond is the focus of widespread attention for applications ranging from quantum information processing to nanoscale metrology. Of interest in these applications is the manipulation of the NV charge state, which can be attained by optical excitation. In this talk I will discuss recent experimental results on the dynamics of NV photo-ionization, charge diffusion, and trapping in nitrogen-rich diamond. Using multi-color confocal microscopy, we uncover the formation of mesoscale patterns of trapped charge, which we qualitatively reproduce via a model of the interplay between photo-excited carriers and atomic defects. I will devote special attention to the limit of low illumination intensities, where we uncover the formation of nanometer-sized textures of trapped charge, driven by carrier tunneling to and from the NVs. Finally, I will show how these processes can be exploited, for example, to optically store classical information in three dimensions, and how these ideas can be extended to the sub-diffraction limit by combining NV spin control and super-resolution microscopy.