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Beautiful photo calendar of London empowers people without homes

The annual MyLondon calendar was unveiled today as their crowdfunder to help pay for the production was launched.

Since 2012 Cafe Art has produced an annual calendar - raising £200,000 in income for the artists and photographers who are homeless or have been homeless.

One hundred one-time use cameras, provided by Fujifilm, were handed out in July. The photographers had seven days to capture the London they love.

The winning photos are a love letter to London. In a time of economic uncertainty, the calendar sells for £11.99. All profits will go to the participants, many who are recently housed in flats and have looming power bills to pay on top of their rent and food costs.

Founder Paul Ryan says that anyone who wants to make a difference to homelessness can buy a calendar and the profits will go to the photographers.

The project is run by Cafe Art who partnered with the local Royal Photographic Society who run weekly sessions on photography.

Stephen Carolan credits Choir With No Name and Cafe Art's MyLondon project for helping him move forward.

"This installation wasn’t the when I lived there. I grew up in Kingston in my teenage years, so to me that was where I found myself. I found myself taking a picture of the phoneboxes, but then I noticed the reflection was as good, so I took this picture – not really expecting it to come out well.”

It was built in 1989, the year Stephen left Kingston. He now he lives in Kilburn. “I ran away from Care at the age of 16 – living on the streets of London. I fell into drugs – dealing – got caught for that, went to prison. Continued with the addiction but was shop lifting to fund it. About five years ago I found the Choir With No Name and through that I found Café Art and MyLondon and the roads just turned up.”

This is his first time competing in the MyLondon contest but he has been taking pictures since the age of eight or nine. I remember doing my photography badge in the Scouts. We had to develop the pictures and that was really interesting. I have continued taking pictures, but not professionally. This has inspired me to enter more competitions now.”

Aija Kalnina said she went to the Kew Gardens, Richmond, to take pictures of the lily pond. She felt the person standing in the pond needs to be seen “because these people make it possible for the visitors to the Kew Gardens to enjoy… it’s hard work what they are doing.” Aija comes from Riga, Latvia, 16 years ago. “My mother used to work in a photography studio. I love photography and I have been to many photography exhibitions in Latvia and England.”

“At [Studio 5, Arlington, run by One Housing] we all decided to take the cameras outside in Camden. I’m in one of the most famous places in Camden – Camden Lock. So we took our camera there and we decided to film some buildings behind and the actual canal, not to [forget to] mention some of a Willow tree which was hanging over us. Given that we had decided to paint our faces, I think it just adds to the colour. And believe it or not, being in Camden – walking around like that – no one batted an eyelid at me! I found that extraordinary! I was sort of a lion / tiger. I’m not quite sure but the point being is that no one gave me a second look in Camden, which I found highly amusing, unlike anywhere else [in London].”

For more information about the project please contact Paul Ryan tel. 07517 141948.

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