When we last talked with photographer Peter DiCampo about Life Without Lights, he was raising funds on Kickstarter to fund the next two chapters of his award-winning project. Since then, the photographer, who is represented by VII Photo as part of the agency's VII Mentor programme, has successfully raised $13,500 and is actively shooting his next story in the UK - "that chapter follows people living without heat or who are struggling to heat their homes," he tells BJP.
But this week, the original work he shot in Ghana - and which won him the BJP International Photography Award in 2010 - is on show at The Strand Gallery in London.
The exhibition is sponsored by Ashden, an organisation that supports and encourages "the greater use of local sustainable energy to address climate change, alleviate poverty and improve quality of life."
"The project has picked up more and more buzz in the energy world," says DiCampo. "Ashden contacted me out-of-the-blue and suggested that we work together. We kicked the idea around for a couple of months, and I pitched to them the idea to use the solar solutions that they support to show the work in the dark. They loved it and jumped on the opportunity."
Despite working on the project for more than two years, DiCampo is still gaining traction in the energy sphere. "I feel that, in the photography world, I'm showing the same work over and over again, even as I add new images. But, in the energy world, it has taken a bit longer to catch on, so it's still new." And the resposnes are overwhelming, he adds. "The NGOs that are interested in it end up wanting to meet, to organise an event or exhibition. There are, in this industry, incredible opportunities and it's still just the beginning. It's a long process to get people that don't normally work with photography to get interested in photography - it's obviously not the same communication process than with magazines editors."
But DiCampo has been surprised about how these organisations are willing to fund the project itself instead of asking him to shoot their PR campaigns. "I think that's because they realise that there's a benefit for them in simply raising awareness of this situation as a general issue - they don't have to slap their name all over it and say: 'Look at our product being used here.' Me, as photographer, raising this issue of life without electricity, benefits their cause. It's been very nice to work that way - I'm not shooting for them; instead I'm still shooting for myself."
For more details, visit www.ashden.org/blog/life-without-lights.
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