What happens when you give 100 homeless people disposable cameras? True works of art.
In July 2015, a London art group gave 100 cameras to members of the city’s homeless population.
The organization, called Cafe Art, is dedicated to empowering those affected by homelessness to express themselves through art and photography.
For their latest project, the group distributed 100 disposable cameras to homeless Londoners along with some basic photography training courtesy of the Royal Photographic Society.
Photographers were asked to take photos centered around the theme “My London.”
Of the 100 cameras, 80 were returned and roughly 2,500 photos were processed. Of those, 20 photos were selected to be included in an upcoming 2016 calendar.
The group has been putting out calendars since 2012, and they have raised nearly $70,000 in the process.
All money raised from calendar sales is reinvested back into the project to cover printing costs, to pay the photographers, to buy art supplies, and to cover the cost of classes.
The 2016 calendar preorders are underway on the group’s Kickstarter page.
Just days after launch, they’d more than doubled their target of a little more than $7,000. Once the calendar is released on Oct. 12 (two days after World Homelessness Day), it’ll sell for $15.40.
More than 7,500 people in London slept on the streets during 2014-2015.
Across England, around 112,000 people reported having battled homelessness. While these numbers are relatively low compared to, say, New York City, which saw its homeless population hit a record high of more than 59,000 people earlier this year, it’s not the number that matters but the people who make it up.
Homelessness can stigmatize and dehumanize this vulnerable population.
By providing insight into their lives, Cafe Art helps fight stigma surrounding the homeless population.
When we’re able to see the world through someone else’s eyes, we can better empathize with what they’re going through. By providing an outlet for a marginalized group in this case, people experiencing homelessness Cafe Art is helping to connect them to a world in which they might not feel welcome.