Above: The 2023 MyLondon desktop standing calendar. This year we will print a 12-inch 300mm x 300mm calendar again alongside the desktop and 9.5" x 9.5" (240mm x 240mm) calendars. Sales of the 2023 calendars raised more than £20,000 for photographers and vendors involved with the project.
Survey results: larger calendar to return
The annual survey was clear: there's support for a 2024 12-inch calendar which will be printed alongside the 9.5 inch (240mm x 240mm) and desktop versions. We actually sent out two surveys as people we knew had bought online were asked more questions about the 2023 calendar. Here are a few of the comments:
"Prefer the older larger wall calendar."
"Excellent photos on the wall calendar."
"I really like the photos and I give them as Christmas presents which are well received."
"I have been buying the calendars for several years and did prefer the slightly larger size it used to come in. The quality of the photos and printing is excellent."
"It is all the more prized this year as I voted for the pictures I’d like to see in it :-)"
"Great wall calendar (I like in particular the photos with people in them). But I preferred the livelier design of the calendar pages in the pre-2020 version: larger letters, serif fonts, the circular splash etc."
"Bought as a gift, recipient happy with the size & format. I would buy one for myself if a long slim version was available."
"The wall calendar looks good, haven’t opened the desk one yet. I like the simplicity of the design and would not suggest any changes to it. I have not looked through the photos as I enjoy discovering the new one on the first of the month."
"I don’t write on the wall calendar, so for me it is the ideal size and layout. I love the variety of photos and perspectives represented by those."
"Wall calendar is perfect for me as it is."
Homelessness crisis There was a sizeable number of people who would like to know more about the current homelessness situation. We will share links in the news, such as this excellent article in the Guardian featuring Homeless Link while keeping the calendar focus on photography and what people love about London in the calendar.
Calendar buyers may have noticed that over the years the emphasis on asking the photographers to "tell their story" has changed so that they can just talk about the photos they take. If they want to speak about what they have been though they can though and this often helps build empathy.
We will also strive to share other London homeless projects, such as The People Project by Kate Shelley. We met up with Kate this week and shared ideas. While her Instagram page has a huge following, her YouTube page has some good short videos. In the surveys we were happy that more people know about our new MyWorld charity which is finally getting going now. We are launching a new website in the coming months. Regarding sales of the MyLondon calendar and cards: online sales were about the same as last year, with about 1,200 sold online. Face to face sales of more than 2,300 calendars and almost 1,900 cards by the vendors, all of whom are street homeless or in temporary accommodation, resulted in them earning more than £15,000. All of them are spending the money on accommodation, with one of the vendors buying equipment for busking. This year we raised more than £5,000 in donations from the public while selling: £1,200 is going to the RPS Cafe Art Photography Mentoring Group to buy camera equipment and pay for entry to exhibitions during 2023. The rest will be used for the new MyWorld Creative Projects charity and also for the rough sleepers fund.
The figure of £20,000 is just what was paid out to the participants in the project and doesn't include the money raised to pay for the contest - from the printing and framing of the exhibition to the printing and shipping of the calendars. The weekly photography group is run by volunteers from the RPS. The majority of calendar sales by vendors who are homeless were in the Elizabeth line stations and Spitalfields Market. You can still buy the wall or desktop calendars and online but be quick if you want a wall calendar as there are only about 50 left. If you buy photos or cards online all the profits go to the photographers. The photographers have already earned more than £4,000 in commissions and prize money from the project since October.