This year, for the first time, Café Art – a London-based organisation that connects homeless people with the wider community through art – launched in Brighton and Hove. Around 100 people affected by homelessness were given Fujifilm single use cameras and asked to document what Brighton and Hove means to them.
The images were assessed by a panel of judges (including AP Editor Nigel Atherton) as well as a public vote, and the best pictures will be published in a My Brighton & Hove 2019 calendar. A Kickstarter campaign, has been launched to help fund printing costs.
Café Art has been going in London for several years, with the support of AP, and has now begun to spread to other cities around the world. You can view this year’s London calendar project here.
Lucy Groenewoud, organiser of the My Brighton and Hove project, said: ‘This project helps people in a direct way, with most of the money going straight to the cause. We are run completely by volunteers, we get the cameras for no charge from Fujifilm, the photos are developed for no charge at Jessops and the calendar is designed for free at CarterWong. Ordering on Kickstarter helps us pay for the printing of the calendars. When sold in the markets, vendors get £4 per calendar sold and £5 if they go out on their own. All the profits from the MyBrighton & Hove calendar will go to support the local project and there are no paid staff in Brighton. By ordering a calendar or photograph on MyBrighton & Hove Kickstarter, you will help people who are affected by homelessness get back their confidence and dignity.’
Here are some of the best images from the My Brighton and Hove calendar competition, along with the stories of the photographers behind them.
First place (People’s choice) Second place (Judge’s choice)
This shot was taken looking through the sculpture A oat, near to the Palace Pier. Sam Abrahams was taking photos nearby when he spotted the ideal opportunity. “I just happened to look through the sculpture and see the guy with his dog and thought that would make a really good photo so I just snapped it.” Says Sam, “Just one of those spur of the moment things.”
Sam is originally from North London. He came to Brighton and Hove “accidentally” after losing his job and home 15 years ago, becoming homeless, and has been here ever since. Sam says: “Taking part in the MYBRIGHTON & HOVE photo project has helped me to get out of a depression so it’s been quite therapeutic.”
Sam is an artist and works with Justlife Art Studios at Open Market, where he exhibited his work as part of the Brighton and Hove Open Houses in May 2018. Amy Goodwin, Justlife Creative Studio Manager says: “Sam has been part of the Justlife Creative Studio since we opened in February 2018, he’s a very talented artist, both in his pastel drawings and his photography. It’s really encouraging his talent is recognised by his local community.”
“I wanted some vibrant colours and came across this beach stall along a beach walk.” Says Stuart McCluskey, “I liked the interesting angle of the windmills and the strong colours against the blue sky.”
Stuart was brought up in the “melting pot” of East London where his saving grace when he was younger was football, boxing and photography. “I got my rst camera when I was 13. I didn’t know who my dad was, so I think in some way I was always looking for him by photographing people.” He moved to Kent before coming to Brighton and Hove last November, initially living on the streets before moving in to emergency accommodation.
Stuart has taught photography in the past, and hopes to be able to do this again in the future. He is in the process of setting up a social enterprise for young people at risk of homelessness using catering and photography to give young people hope. He says: “Taking part in MYBRIGHTON & HOVE photo project has given me my bug back for photography.”
Armed Forces Day
Bradley James was walking past the British Legion on June 30, when he spotted two supporters celebrating Armed Forces Day. “I came across a great snap of two guys all dressed up for Armed Forces Day I thought this would be a great photo to represent Brighton and Hove in the calendar.” Says Bradley, “I liked that they looked so proud with their poppies.”
Bradley has lived in Brighton and Hove for 9 years, he is originally from East London. Various life situations brought him to Brighton and Hove, where he’s currently living in emergency accommodation. “I like Brighton because it’s different – there are good people, you have a good vibe”.
He enjoyed being part of the competition, “I found it great fun and I got to experience something new. I took my time to nd what I wanted to take. I feel privileged to have been picked.”
Walking all my life
Dawn Kiff was walking along Brighton Beach when she spotted 3 friends of hers. “I was walking past and I saw the three guys – one of them does sand art normally. I said hi, asked them if I could take a picture. I didn’t realise what it said above it until after I took the picture. It was just literally a moment in time. A minute or two later they moved and went off to make sand sculptures. The guys can’t speak much English but we get by – we muddle through to communicate. They have their tents with them all the time, ready to keep walking.”
Dawn is originally from Stoke-on-Trent and has lived in Oxfordshire. She married RAF man in her twenties and moved around Europe. Dawn says: “ is photo to me is about why I came to Brighton and Hove. I came four months ago because of domestic violence. It was a last-minute thing to come to Brighton and I feel like I have been here all my life. I absolutely love it.”
She says: “ is is my favourite place. I have never known anything like it its blown me away the services for homeless people. e picture just sums my life up – I have been walking all my life and now I am ready to stop and stay where I am. I am so glad I picked Brighton.”
Judge’s Best Portrait Award.
Donald Hayden took this photo of his friend Joe enjoying Brighton and Hove’s café scene along St James Street. “I have been in Brighton and Hove for a year,” Says Donald. “Jo is a guy I see a lot as I tend to walk up and
down St James street and through e Lanes and he’s usually in those areas. He works in the charity shop next door to the cafe on St James St where the picture was taken. He’s always friendly and his love of bright colours, wild hair and eclectic sense of style never fails to make smile. He seems to embody all the things I love about Brighton.”
Donald has not taken photographs before as a serious hobby, aside from snapping some photos on his phone. He has been involved in many creative projects in the past including acting, singing and performing (spoken word) He enjoys creative writing, short stories, poetry and longer pieces.
He is “over the moon” at having two photos in the calendar: “I’m beaming from ear to ear!” and is hoping to further discover his new-found love of photography.
Third place (Judge’s choice)
Naomi MacDonald says: “I took the i360 on a sunny day
– the reflections stand out against the blue of the sky and water. Having the camera made me more aware of capturing impromptu moments in time.”
Naomi and her friends enjoyed the project and made it in to a playful game together as to who could capture the most original and unique shot of Brighton & Hove. “I loved being part of MY BRIGHTON & HOVE it was great fun!” she says.
Naomi was born in London, and has travelled for much of her life, living in Dublin, Ireland for a while before settling in Brighton and Hove in 2010. She loves living in Brighton and Hove and has never done photography before. She currently gives up much of her free time volunteering for e Real Junk Food Project and other organisations.
Dawn Kiff says “ The carousel is the epitome of the seaside. It’s about kids as well. I saw the carousel and all the colours and thought it would make a nice picture. It reminded me of childhood.”
Dawn hasn’t done any photography before “just the odd picture here and there”. Her son has just opened his own photography company in Oxfordshire so when Dawn heard about MY BRIGHTON & HOVE Photo project she decided she would have a go. She says she listened to the talk by Royal Photographic Society member Paul on the camera handout day about choosing the right moment to take a photo and picking an unusual angle and applied this when taking the photo of the carousel – waiting for the right moment for the horses to align.
“Having the pictures chosen is the con dence I need at the moment and that’s what it’s given me. A big boost. When people come up to me and say to me “I went to the gallery and saw the pictures they always pinpoint the picture of the 3 guys and carousel and I say, “those are my pictures!”
First place (Judge’s Choice)
Second place (People’s choice)
Judge’s Most Creative Photograph award
“I was just walking down the beach, and saw some young children feeding chips to the seagulls.” Says Donald Hayden. “You can call it inspiration, I just had an overwhelming feeling to take the snap. I took it and it turned out great thankfully.
“Just out of shot there was a feeding frenzy there was about 30 seagulls actually coming in to eat as well.”
Donald is originally from Birmingham, and over the years has lived in a few locations around the country. He came to Brighton and Hove last year and likes the “colourful eclectic” aspects of the city. He is currently living in temporary accommodation.
Michael Clark took this photo of his friend Paul, who is originally from Leicester, reading his book by the seafront. “When you have been on the road you get to know everyone, in a way, you see them all the time in a certain place.” Michael says,“Paul was sitting right on the seafront and no one was even taking any notice – when you are on the street, no one looks at you.”
Michael was born in Colchester and moved to Brighton in 1989 after travelling all over the world. A few years ago, Michael was at work at the building business he owned when he blacked out and woke up in hospital. In his own words, his “head blew up” and he had 2 aneurisms. He subsequently lost his business and ended up homeless, before being housed in emergency accommodation.
Talking about taking part in MYBRIGHTON & HOVE Michael says: “It was a good way to meet up with my daughter and friends and get around Brighton and Hove. I have never even had a camera before. I would like to do the project again. I didn’t think I would be any good at taking pictures, I just saw things and thought that would be a good picture. Now I would like to do more photography with my daughter as she has just started a photography course.”
Living in Peace
“I took the photo on a boiling hot day on Brighton Beach.” Says Natalie Fisher, “ e main subject is my good friend Rosa. She was telling stories about her
life. I liked the light on the rust and the layers of different people sheltering together in the shade. I called the picture living in peace because in it there are gay people, Muslim people, able bodied and disabled all enjoying the beach together and that’s what I love most about Brighton. We all peacefully coexist.”
Natalie was born in Brighton and Hove at the Royal Sussex County Hospital. From the age of 16-19 she was in temporary accommodation, and then from 19 – 22 she was homeless. Natalie was given supported housing a few years back for her and her daughter which allowed her to open her own business running a market stall. She has just opened her own shop in Brighton and Hove.
Being part of MY BRIGHTON & HOVE has inspired Natalie to continue photography: “I have really wanted to do more photography and taking part in this project has made me more interested”.
Third place (People’s choice)
Jo Tompkins was walking through the Open Market in Brighton and Hove, when she spotted Jib, who sells baskets weaved out of recycled plastic bags. Jo says, “I liked his hat made of plastic bags and asked him if I could take a photo of him. The open market has become far more vibrant since it’s renovation – it’s like a little community and very friendly with stall holders chatting to each other and the public passing through.”
Jo is from Yorkshire originally and has lived in Brighton & Hove since 2001. She has lived in different parts of the city and says she has seen lots of changes since she moved here including an increase in homelessness. A combination of circumstances led to Jo becoming homeless and being housed in a mixed hostel, and then temporary accommodation. “I was in the housing homeless system three times and I couldn’t cope with the system any of those times really and dropped out completely the first time. I stayed in it the third time, finally ending up in a council place in Hove which only exacerbated my situation as there was severe antisocial behaviour . I haven’t had an easy time with housing.”
Jo says “I was having a challenging day and then I received the phone call to let me know two of my photos were in the top 20 of MY BRIGHTON & HOVE. It was the best news I could have had that day.”
The Kickstarter will run for 30 days and end on Saturday 15 September.