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London through the eyes of the homeless - Beautiful photos of London

Press release   •   Jul 15, 2019 11:02 BST

Freedom, Brick Lane, by Mohammad Hasan. Cover of 2020 MyLondon calendar. This photo won the Chris Cheesman Most Creative Photo Award. “I find that there is a freedom in this picture. You see there is a cage in there, but the bird is flying, free."

A calendar, where all the photographers have experienced homelessness, is being published. The theme was London. The calendar earns money for rough sleepers, sofa surfers and people who have experienced homelessness who will sell the calendar from September.

Organiser Paul Ryan says: "This is not what homelessness looks like, but the photos show the beauty of London as seen by people who have experienced homelessness."

The vivid stories of the people who have slept rough are in stark contrast to the beautiful images they have taken on disposable cameras as part of MyLondon over a week in May 2019.

Hasan explains how he became homeless and only later when he was in hospital did he understand the reason why. "I have anxiety problems because of my mental health. I have schizophrenia. It’s a very difficult situation to come back from this kind of problem. I’m struggling."

Following suggestions to engage with people, Hasan's photo was chosen as the 2020 cover image for the prestigious MyLondon calendar.

Richard Fletcher is a rough sleeper. He took the photo of Charterhouse Square. "Charterhouse Square is one of my favourite ‘secret escapes’ in London. I noticed this flower in the gutter. Straight away the symbolism hit me. If you are homeless and you keep trying you will eventually blossom. The flower is a Spanish Bluebell. I think the connection between homelessness, the gutter and blossoming forth is quite a strong one. Couldn`t resist taking the photo." This photo is JUNE 2020.

Peter Nathan found himself homeless after an argument with his parents. He won second place in the contest and it is SEPTEMBER 20120 in the MyLondon calendar: “It’s a photo of a street corner during the day. Because of the way that the sunlight was reflecting off the buildings, creating the shadows and the contrast it just literally reminded me of a street in the Victorian era with 21 Century buildings surrounding it and the whole essence of it just was perfect as a picture to take. It was difficult working on a 35mm [film] camera because I had no idea other than what I was looking at to judge the light perspective but I just went for it.”

Gerard Mitchell lost his home when he broke up with his girlfriend, but is now housed in a hostel. His photo won him the Best Portrait Award and is MARCH 2020 in the calendar: Vince. “He is a DJ at Resonance FM who plays African music. I read poetry at the radio station sometimes. I took it at the radio station at London Bridge.”

For more information contact Paul Ryan on 07517 141 948. email paul@cafeart.org.uk

CAFÉ ART connects people affected by homelessness with the wider community through art. We hang artwork created in art groups run by homelessness sector organisations and hang it in independent cafes in London. We also run photography contests with disposable FujiFilm cameras. 

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