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1.4 billion people live without electricity. This project reveals the impact of global Energy Poverty while questioning energy's future
1.4 billion people live without electricity. This project reveals the impact of global Energy Poverty while questioning energy's future
159 backers pledged $15,523 to help bring this project to life.

World Understanding Award, Blue Earth Alliance

Dear backers,

I hope you've all been well! Writing to share some exciting news.

POYi World Understanding Award

A global edit of Life Without Lights has recognized in this year's Photographs of the Year contest, as a finalist for the World Understanding Award. Click here to view a slideshow of Life Without Lights and other finalists.

Isidro Alcudia, Jr. brings donated food into his family's trailer in Pajarito Mesa, New Mexico. The lives of people on the Mesa reveal a glance into energy’s past and future: while some struggle for the fuel to run their generator for an hour or two each day, their neighbors have been able to afford solar panels, and live comfortably off the grid.

Blue Earth Alliance

Life Without Lights has been accepted for partnership with Blue Earth Alliance, an organization that assists select documentary photography projects. They will be helping with fundraising and project management, and are a registered non-profit who can accept tax-deductible donations to the project on my behalf.

A surgical team performs a c-section during a power cut in Abobo Sud Hospital in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Athens Photo Festival

The original Life Without Lights multimedia from Ghana screened at the 12th Athens Photo Festival.

Children read the Koran by flashlight at a mosque in Wantugu, Northern Region, Ghana.

All the best,


Rio+20 Wrap-up, Photocrati Fund

Dear Backers,

I hope you're all well and enjoying the summer! It's been a great summer for me and for Life Without Lights - a few news items for you:

Rio+20 Exhibition

A special in-the-dark exhibition opened in June at Galeria do Lago in Rio's Musea da Republica. The opening night attracted an international crowd, coinciding with the UN Rio+20 Conference, and last week we reached 2,000 visitors from the public. The first Life Without Lights exhibition to feature photography from the global project (Ghana, USA, Iraq, UK, and Ivory Coast), the exhibition remains on display through 23rd September. Many thanks to exhibition sponsors: OFID, UNIDO, D.Light, and IAEA - and to all of YOU for helping to make this possible, and helping to get these issues in front of policymakers. More information here.

Photocrati Fund Winner

Out of 400 applicants, Life Without Lights has been selected to receive this year's Photocrati Fund, an annual grant for one photographer to continue a humanitarian project. The grant will allow me to continue documenting the health impact of Energy Poverty in Uganda, as well as solar and cookstove solutions. See their official announcement and the finalists here.

Newsweek International

Life Without Lights was featured in Newsweek International to illustrate on article on energy access and Rio+20. Click to view the publication and more tearsheets.

Apparently I photograph more than just energy issues

Some news on other projects and publications:

-"Everyday Africa" published in Bloomberg Businessweek.

-"Everyday Africa" tumblr blog.

-"Where Does Chocolate Come From?" published in Foreign Policy Magazine.

More news just around the corner! All the best,


Rio de Janeiro exhibition opening / Uganda update


For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

Flashlight Portraits in Foreign Policy Magazine

Dear Backers,

Just a quick one today. A selection of my Flashlight Portraits has been published in Foreign Policy Magazine. Enjoy!

Hope you've been well. Best,


UK Wrap-up / PDN 30 / Lumix Festival

Richard Latham has a late-night drink in his home in Solihull, England. When Richard's wife left him four years ago, she left behind a £400 energy bill that he is unable to pay off. He has not used heat in his home since then, and very rarely turns on light or electrical appliances, for fear of increasing his debt. "I'm a bit paranoid about power," he says.

Dear backers,

I hope that you have all been well! The bad news is that I have taken far too long to update you. The good news is that I have delayed hitting the "send" button on this post as I continue working and more and more news comes in!

Power Paranoid UK

I spent most of the past few months in the UK, working on perhaps the most difficult story I have taken on. While the number of households affected by Fuel Poverty has risen to near 7 million (and is projected to continue rising), it was extraordinarily difficult to find people willing to allow me into their homes and photograph. This one took an incredible amount of time and energy - so I am once again extremely grateful to each of you for supporting the project! It simply wouldn't have been possible otherwise.

My efforts were eventually rewarded as people like Richard Latham, pictured above, and a few others invited me into their homes. It was absolutely surreal to examine this issue in England - to find people connected to the grid, in "everyday" living situations, who simply refused to flick on their light switches because of a very real fear of compounded debt to their energy companies. A couple more photos from the project are below - a full edit is coming soon, and I'm planning a return trip to the UK next winter!

Richard Latham poses for a portrait lit with flashlights in his home in Solihull, England.

"John" (not his real name) in his flat in Birmingham, England. Having recently lost his job, and homeless until just a few weeks ago, John lives off jobseekers benefits and struggles to pay his bills. For each large purchase he makes - such as the winter coat seen in the background - he has to plan for days without use of electricity.

London Exhibition

In February, I had an extremely successful exhibition at The Strand Gallery in London in partnership with the energy charity Ashden ( On one floor of the gallery, my prints were exhibited in the dark, and visitors viewed the work using handheld solar lights created by D.Light ( and ToughStuff International ( On the next floor, visitors learned about the plethora of sustainable energy solutions that Ashden supports. It was wonderful to continue contributing my work to the discussion on energy's future.

We were fortunate to attract a lot of media attention - including this BBC World Service interview: and articles from Reuters Alertnet: and The British Journal of Photography:

PDN 30

Last month, I was named one of the Photo District News 30 Emerging Photographers to Watch, a huge honor in the photography world. Images here: and interview here:

Lumix Festival

Life Without Lights work from five countries will be exhibited at the Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism in Hannover, Germany this June. Very excited to share an exhibition space with a wide range of fantastic photography:

Pulitzer Center Grant / Where Does Chocolate Come From?

A man inspects his destroyed home near Blolequin, Ivory Coast on the first day that he returned to his village, having fled during post-election violence last spring and lived as a refugee in neighboring Liberia for about eleven months.

Finally, a bit of non-energy news. In early March, I traveled to Ivory Coast on my third grant from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on the post-conflict situation there and the connection between the country's cocoa industry and ten-year civil war. Full story coming soon...

That's all for now! Expect more news soon as I prepare for an upcoming trip to Uganda photograph a chapter on Energy Poverty + Women's Health. And during this down-time between shooting, getting you your rewards is one of my top priorities!

All the best,