Above: José Bell, a previous MYLONDON calendar winner, holds some of the Fujifilm QuickSnap cameras that will be distributed to 100 people on Friday.
The annual MyLondon photography contest happens at begins St Paul's Cathedral this Friday 26 May. As usual, the theme is not what homelessness looks like - but how people affected by homelessness can picture London at its most beautiful. In the 10 years since it started it has helped hundreds of Londoners who have experienced homelessness through photography and entrepreneurship. Participants have seven days to capture photographs of the London they love. They have 27 shots on a Fujifilm QuickSnap film camera. Every participants will choose three photos for the MyLondon exhibition, with 25 going forward to a public vote to choose the 2024 MyLondon calendar which is sold in Spitalfields E1 market and Elizabeth line stations and online. Every year photographers and vendors of the calendars, photos and cards produced from the contest earn thousands of pounds. Since 2013 photographers affected by homelessness have earned more than £250,000 for themselves through prizes and sales of the products which feature their photos. (read about last year's success). The project is supported by online sales of the calendars, cards and photographs through online presales. The 2024 MyLondon calendar will be available from late July 2023. A lasting legacy of the project has been ongoing photography mentoring and support by volunteers from the Royal Photographic Society. The participants in the weekly photography sessions have commented about how the ongoing support month on month and year on year has helped them build lasting friendships with the mentors and each other. See examples of their work here In the 10 years since the first MyLondon contest, exhibition and calendar, Cafe Art has helped seven more cities do the same project and has recently set up a charity to help more cities. MyWorld Creative Projects is helping MyMumbai and MySydney also do the same project later this year. Empowering Michael Allwright, Chairman of MyWorld and founder of Homeless In Focus / MySydney, said: "Such a simple project has made a huge difference. It provides an insight into people's lives that is both empowering to the homeless participants and deeply humbling to the public. The homeless 'camera to calendar' concept was initiated in London and now exists worldwide. We're really excited to see London from the perspective of those with a lived experience of homelessness. Every year the photos are incredible - both technically as well as through the poignant stories of the human being behind them, that we can all relate to." The London camera handout will be on Friday afternoon from The Wren Suite, St Paul's Cathedral, City of London MEDIA: For more information contact Paul Ryan 07517 141948 firstname.lastname@example.org or Michael Allwright email@example.com DO YOU WANT A CAMERA? If you have experienced homelessness, including sleeping rough, supported housing and sofa surfing in the past five years and would like to take part in the contest please email firstname.lastname@example.org See MyLondon videos from the past 10 years here: https://www.youtube.com/@cafeartuk MYMUMBAI in September Fujifilm has donated 100 QuickSnap cameras to MYWORLD to help MYMUMBAI with Pehchan, a homeless organisation in Mumbai in September. You can read about Pehchan's work with the homeless street families here.
Above: Brijesh Arya from Pehchan showing one of their clients a sample camera in April. Pehchan means "identity" and they work with thousands of families who are homeless - helping them access government assistance by providing them with identity cards and support to access government help, as explained in the Guardian article from 2016 above. Pehchan have been partnered with Cafe Art since 2017 as part of the This Is Where I Live homeless art exchange. The MYMUMBAI contest is being supported by several local professional photographers and academics.
Above: Paul Ryan from MYLONDON with Brijesh Arya from Pehchan who will be running the MYMUMBAI project in September.
The camera handout and exhibition will be held in St Xavier's College, Mumbai. Cafe Art and MYWORLD will be helping Pehchan create a 2024 MYMUMBAI calendar to raise funds for Pehchan. If you would like to know more about how you can support MYMUMBAI contact Paul Ryan email@example.com