For the second year in a row, an organization in London called Café Art gave out 100 cameras and basic photography training to members of the homeless population in the city this past July. In 2014, Café Art received 90 out of 100 cameras back, and the 65 photographers chose five photos each to share in the My London Photography Contest. Only 80/100 cameras were returned for the 2015 contest, but that still amounted to approximately 2,500 photos, 20 of which were chosen for the organization’s 2016 calendar.
The idea behind the project was to empower the homeless population with a way to express themselves through photography. Café Art explains that they’re “unique initiative showcasing artwork created by people affected by homelessness or are socially vulnerable.” The organization originally started in 2012 in a local London café by a local art group run by a homelessness sector organization. Every week the group created stunning paintings, but there wasn’t enough space to display it in the charity headquarters, so the group started displaying the artwork in cafes across London.
From paintings, Café Art expanded into photography with their 2014 disposable camera endeavor. The organization published a calendar from their start in 2012, and through the sales of those calendars, has raised almost $70,000, which they reinvest back into the project. Café Art wants people to experience the artwork in person by visiting the over 20 cafes displaying it across London, but for those outside the city, the calendar gives a glimpse into the artistic talent found among those affected by homelessness.
The theme for the 2015 photography event, the theme was “My London” and the artists made each of their 27 shots count. Café Art helps combat the dehumanization and stigma that can surround the vulnerable homeless population by giving a deeper perspective into the homeless sector. Although homelessness in London may be lower when compared to New York City, it’s not about the numbers it’s about the people. Café Art prides themselves on “Not just celebrating the art and the hidden talent, but the human connection.”
View a few of the amazing photographs below from Café Art and find new ways explore the human connection in your own images. Bring out the best in your art with the variety of services from Baboo Digital.