Last year, we shared a special project that empowered the homeless through photography. In it, disposable cameras were handed out to people affected by homelessness in London and participants were asked to take photos under the theme "My London." The best photos were selected to be featured in a calendar for 2016.
Since then, the project spread to other cities around the world such as Sydney, Budapest, São Paulo, and New Orleans. A Toronto project is also in the works.
Meanwhile, Cafe Art, the organization that started the project, held another "My London" photography contest to create a 2017 calendar and revealed the winners just last week.
The project not only allows them to win the chance to have their photos featured in a calendar, but also teaches participants new skills. They learn basic photography skills and can even join a mentoring group that meets every two weeks to learn more about digital cameras. But Paul Ryan, director of Cafe Art, believes they also learn important life skills.
"They learn people skills, meeting the public through the contest and later in the market when selling it. They also learn basic sales skills," he told A Plus. "Over the years I have worked with homeless people on this project, I have learned to make sure all the participants involved in it get something out of it. Every year, we try to include more people in every step of the process so that they own the project. They have to feel in control of how they are represented to the public and I make sure they are happy with their stories."
As for everyone else checking out the project, Ryan is optimistic that they'll learn something, too. "The public will hopefully learn about homelessness in a subtle way. Every month in the calendar has a story of the person who took the photo and they all have different stories of course."
You can check out the top 20 images below:
1. "Graffiti Area" by Saffron Saidi
2. "Group Exercise" by Siliana
3. "Tyre Pile" by Mia Lyons
4. "London Calling" by Hugh Gary
5. "After the Rain" by Siliana
6. "Love Heart Bike Stand" by Ella Sullivan
7. "Now What?" by Laz Ozerden
8. "St Paul’s in Reflection" by Christopher McTavish
9. "London Icons" by Alana Del Valle
10. "Brick Lane Pose" by Geraldine Crimmins
11. "Out of the Blue" by Beatrice
12. "The Market" by Goska Calik
13. "Drivers Wanted" by Richard Fletcher
14. "The Coffee Seller" by Leo Shaul
15. "Exiting Underground" by Jackie Cook
16. "Arcadia" by Keith Norris
17. "Nelson's Column" by Richard Riley
18. "Mirrors Sculpture" by Hugh Gary
19. "Camden Scene" by Saffron Saidi
20. "St Paul's Cathedral" by Michelle Goldberg
Cafe Art has set up a Kickstarter to help raise money for the calendar. You can watch their Kickstarter video about the project below: