London’s homeless community have turned their talents to photography to take pictures for a calendar that is set to raise thousands of pounds.
Out of the blue by Beatrice
Around 100 people affected by homelessness were handed Fujifilm single-use cameras by Café Art.
Café Art is an organisation that connects homeless people with the wider community through art.
From more than 5,000 colour and black & white prints, 20 were chosen to star in the 2017 Café Art MyLondon calendar.
Brick Lane Pose by Geraldine Crimmins
Among this year’s winners is Geraldine Crimmins, whose picture, ‘Ray of Light’, of her friend is the starring image for March 2017.
‘I asked him to pose for me next to some graffiti because I thought it would make a really good photo,’ said Geraldine, who has experienced substance abuse that cost her her house and business before she ‘got clean’ a few years ago.
Richard Fletcher, who belongs to community project ARTfitzrovia, spotted a ‘Drivers Wanted’ sign next to a miniature bus in the window of a pizza parlour.
‘I’m sleeping rough,’ said Richard, who shot the image chosen to be used for April. ‘Various places: King’s Cross St Pancras, Victoria… during the summer it’s all right. I had a night shelter in the winter months, which was fine, that I may revert to if I’m still here come October/November…
‘I heard about the photography contest by chance. I was in a McDonald’s late one night in Holborn and this guy walks in and saw me sketching. He was the one who told me about Café Art.’
Drivers Wanted by Richard Fletcher
Hugh Gary is an ex-army man whose image of a phone box at Mayfield Lavender Farm, near Croydon, takes pride of place in May.
The former serviceman’s 10-year career took him as far afield as the Middle East, Australia and Canada.
‘A lot of the homeless people in London are ex-service. And there aren’t really many places that support ex-service when it comes to homelessness,’ Hugh told organisers.
London calling by Hugh Gary
Worldwide media coverage of the last year’s calendar allowed Café Art to launch a photography mentoring programme with the Royal Photographic Society.
A photographer known as Beatrice is among those who took part in the mentoring group. Her calendar entry ‘Out of the blue’ is set to grace the July section.
‘It was a really hot day. I liked the blue of the sky and the white of the wall,’ said Beatrice, who had a winning photo in the 2015 calendar.
‘I looked around and saw the red watering can. Perfect! It was still not quite right, though. I raised my hand and it cast a strong shadow on the wall, as if I was reaching for the watering can. Finally, I was pleased with this composition.’
Organisers have today launched a Kickstarter appeal to raise money to help cover the 2017 calendar’s £12,000 printing costs.
Money raised from the calendar is ploughed back into the project to pay for printing, art materials and courses, and to reward the winning photographers.
Calendar sales have raised more than £45,000 for art groups since 2012.
Last year, organisers took their groundbreaking concept to the streets of Brazil, after sparking interest in similar schemes worldwide.
MyLondon 2016 went viral after Amateur Photographer’s coverage triggered interest from countries including Hong Kong, Australia and Thailand.
It also won coverage on The Today Show in the United States.
This year’s judging panel included representatives from The Royal Photographic Society, Fujifilm and Amateur Photographer.
The public were also given the chance to vote for their favourite shots at an exhibition held at Spitalfields Arts Market earlier this month.
The project is endorsed by Homeless Link, the national membership charity for organisations working with people who become homeless in England.
The 2017 calendar will be launched at Spitalfields Arts Market in October.
Here are the other shots that will appear in the 2017 calendar:
Graffiti Area by Saffron Saidi
Exiting Underground by Jackie Cook
London icons, by Alana Del Valle
St Paul’s in reflection by Christopher McTavish
The coffee seller by Leo Shaul
Now what? by Laz Ozerden
Love heart bike stand, by Ella Sullivan
After the rain by Siliana
Arcadia by Keith Norris