At the start of the summer, 100 Fujfilm disposable cameras were handed out at St. Paul’s Cathedral to people affected by homelessness, with the theme of capturing MyLondon as their target for the project.
Before embarking on the photographic exercise, which took place throughout the first week in July, the participants were also given training by members of The Royal Photographic Society. Once the week was over, the films were processed and printed and a panel of judges selected a shortlist of 20 images that were then put to a public decision at Spitalfields Arts Market in August, which attracted over 3,200 votes.
The winning photos are the ones which make up the Cafe Art 2018 MyLondon Calendar and all profits will go directly to the participants of the project. Last year, the initiative raised £8,436 via Kickstarter, which covered two thirds of the printing and production costs of the calendar. While the success of the initiative has helped to spread the activity to other parts of the world, including; São Paulo, Sydney, Budapest, New Orleans and – for the first time this year – Toronto.
Beyond just creating a calendar and taking pictures, the initiative in London has enabled people affected by homelessness to learn new skills and earn paid volunteering opportunities, such as stewarding and hanging pictures at the MyLondon exhibitions.
Click here and visit the Kickstart page for more information on the initiative and donate from 7pm tonight to help raise money for the production of the Cafe Art 2018 MyLondon calendar.
Cafe Art’s goals include:
• Empowering people affected by homelessness, not only through art, but through connecting with the public
• Telling the stories of individuals who are affected by homelessness
• Raising awareness in the general public about issues from the participant’s personal perspective.
Since 2012, sales of calendars have raised more than £85,000 for art groups, artists and vendors, making the project self-sustaining. The last two year’s Kickstarter campaigns for 2016 and 2017 calendars went viral worldwide, which provides for the printing of the calendar, framing the pictures at the exhibition and reimbursing the photographers.
Cafe Art 2018 MyLondon Calendar – a small sample of the images
Husna said it was one of the hottest days of the summer when she was cycling with her friend and they found a bathing area near the O2 Centre on the bank of the River Thames. “I was just going in and I realised that it could be a perfect shot, so I went back and got my camera, holding it up so it didn’t get wet!”
Husna met a previous winner in the contest while living in a squat with artists in Camden Town. She enjoys painting and also does henna on people.
Born in London, Ella Sullivan grew up in County Kerry, Ireland. She returned to London over 20 years ago and now lives in Islington. Ella says she sometimes takes photos on her phone, but doesn’t have a real camera. She goes to art sessions run by SHP near Essex Road, Islington. “I’ve been going to SHP art group for over a year now. I was having some problems with my housing so that was why I got referred to SHP. I’ve had good support from them.” She is also doing a course with the London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy in Camden. “I finished doing the hairdressing course last year so now I’m working on the barbering side of it doing men’s haircuts.”
Jackie said it was a hot day so a good day to visit Camden Lock Market. The group here were happy to pose for the camera. While not as common as they used to be, you can still see punks around Camden Town most weekends says Jackie, “especially when it’s hot”.
Jackie goes to the Haringey Recovery Service, which is run in partnership with St Mungo’s, where she does voluntary meditation teaching. “It’s important to share what people have given to you and never forget where you come from,” Jackie says. “Never ever look down on anybody unless you’re picking them up.” She says she is fortunate to have never had to sleep rough but she has “been on my knees… I ruined all my teeth with drugs, so today I stand on my feet and I smile with pride, I’m really happy with my life today. I don’t have any family – I was brought up in children’s homes. My friends are my family.”
Ella Sullivan took this shot of a French Bulldog near where she lives in Islington. “There was a doggie dress up contest. I went across and took some shots of the dogs I liked. This one seemed to be posing.”