In 2007, Peace Corps volunteer Peter DiCampo was out walking with his camera one night in the Ghanaian village of Wantugu when he came across a group of children inside a dark mosque. They were huddled around a Quran, their faces lit only by the glow of flashlights clutched in their hands. The scene was hauntingly beautiful but also captured a grave reality: Some 1.3 billion people, one-fifth of the world's population, live without electricity, as the Wantugu villagers then did. Since that night, DiCampo has devoted the past half-decade to his project "Life Without Lights," using nighttime photographs, illuminated only by fire or battery-powered light, to bring attention to the world's powerless poor. Aside from Ghana, he has documented the off-grid community of Pajarito Mesa, New Mexico, remote villages in Iraqi Kurdistan, and families in Birmingham, England, who couldn't afford electricity this past winter. Next stop: Uganda.
Above, a young man poses for a portrait lit with flashlights in Voggu, Northern Region, Ghana, on Feb. 19, 2010. The villagers of Voggu are among the 1.3 billion people worldwide who live without electricity. There were power lines in Voggu for years, but they were never connected to electricity. The material for the lines was eventually stolen, presumably to be sold as scrap metal.