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MyLondon cameras are out!

The annual MYLONDON contest has begun!



It was probably the most moving MYLONDON photography training session I have run.


This year, as every year, we approached the homelessness-sector charities in London, including all the big ones like Crisis, SHP, One Housing in Camden Town and St Mungo's, to find people who might like to pick up a camera. We also approached support day centres like The Connection and St Martin's in the Field and 240 Project and individuals who are sleeping rough in London.


With homelessness in the UK at record levels it was not hard to find new photographers for the project which involves people with lived experience of homelessness taking a disposable camera (Fujifilm QuickSnap 27 photos 400 ASA) for seven days to take photos of London for the exhibition and 2025 MYLONDON calendar.


This year's camera handout day felt different for several reasons. One was the fact that many of the past winning photographers helped run the project. Instead of just one person speaking to the group, four of them stood up and explained what the project means to them. I had only asked Wayne, Anastasia, Maurice and Patricia to speak about their photos which were shown on a screen in the Wren Suite, a brick-lined 350-year-old room in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral. What they explained was what they had gained from the project and also from the weekly volunteer-run Cafe Art RPS Photography Mentoring Group sessions. This way of running the project worked so well, I can't believe I had not done it like this years ago.


Their peer support and photography training will have made a difference to the participants who sometimes approach this project a little nervously. It completely fits with the project which as about helping people connect with people. The project is a fun way to tackle more serious issues that homelessness presents, such as isolation, mental health and poverty.


The participants were shown a few videos to give them an idea about how the project runs. This year we showed how it was done in Toronto in 2017 and also the official MYLONDON calendar video from last year, as well as a selection of winning photos chosen from the MYLONDON archive to show what has won before. Of course, we also explained how the camera works as some people, especially the younger ones, do not know how film photography works.


Official speakers included Michael Allwright, the chairman of the MYWORLD charity who spoke about the reasons behind setting up of MYWORLD. He also spoke about why he set up MYSYDNEY in Australia in 2015. David Hicks from the RPS spoke about the judging process so that people would know what to take.


The cameras will be returned on Tuesday next week - with photographers choosing photos for the annual exhibition on Friday the 26th of July.


You can pre-order the 2025 MYLONDON calendar starting in mid August.

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