Peter DiCampo on winning the 2010 IPA

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BJP’s 2014 International Photography Award is up and running and receiving entries – so we we’ve taken some time out to ask Peter DiCampo, winner of the 2010 series category prize, about how it was for him. DiCampo won with a project called Life Without Lights, which shows life in rural Ghana at night and is the first chapter in an ongoing project on fuel poverty; his images were exhibited at the Association of Photographers’ then-gallery in East London (the IPA now works with the central London TJ Boulting Gallery), and were printed by Spectrum Photographic (who are still our sponsors). We didn’t even bribe him to give these answers!

BJP: Why did you enter the competition?

Peter DiCampo: I entered the competition for the hope of recognition, of course, and was especially excited to enter this one as it is not only an award but also the chance for a solo exhibition. I had recently completed a large body of work, and was so thankful for the chance to exhibit it (my first solo exhibition at the time).

BJP: How did you find the experience of printing your work with Spectrum?

DiCampo: Working with Spectrum was great – the people there were wonderful with helping me figure out all the details of printing. I have gone back to them many times since then.

BJP: Were you pleased with the show?

DiCampo: The exhibition was beautiful — great prints, a great space, and the opening was a fantastic event. I was thrilled.

BJP: Have you been able to use the prints anywhere else after the show?

DiCampo: I got a lot of use out of these prints, thankfully — I shipped them to New York and they exhibited at the VII Gallery in Brooklyn. I also partnered with organisations in the energy sector to use them at several one-night events.

BJP: Did the show bring any new opportunities for you?

DiCampo: Life Without Lights was my first major body of work, and the IPA was the first recognition it received — promoting this project helped me launch my freelance career.

BJP: Would you recommend that other people enter the IPA?

DiCampo: Absolutely – it’s a great way to get noticed and get a beautiful solo show.

BJP: What tips do you give aspiring photographers thinking of entering this prize (or others)?

DiCampo: I remember being told that my work won because the judges thought it would make a strong exhibition – so, edit your submission with that in mind. Show a consistent style, and don’t add anything extraneous (less is more!).

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Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy