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My London Calendar by Homeless Photographers launches today

Press release   •   Oct 12, 2015 09:00 BST

A crowdsourcing campaign to support a calendar produced by London’s homeless, which went global over the summer, will launch at Spitalfields Market on Monday 12 October. The Award Ceremony will the calendar launched by the photographers themselves who earn a large percentage of the profits in this social enterprise.

In an exciting new venture, Café Art and The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) London Region are very pleased to announce a mentoring programme for the photographers who have had images selected for the Café Art calendars. Volunteers from RPS London Region will be continuing to work with these Café Art photographers to further develop their photographic skills.

To produce the calendar, 100 Fuji single-use cameras were used by homeless people and twelve of the resulting photographs were selected for the Cafe Art 2016 My London calendar.

Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to print the calendar attracted 350% more than its target after it was picked up globally by BuzzFeed, Upworthy, Bored Panda, Huffington Post, NBC Today Show, La Repubblica (Italy), Stern (Germany) and major websites across France, Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong and elsewhere.

Cafe Art director Paul Ryan commented: "We couldn't believe the international response to our project. We feel that people really connected with what we are trying to do. We've had calendar orders from all over the world." Ryan added that an exhibition representing homeless art groups from all over London opens on the same day in Spitalfields Arts Market.

One of this year's winning photographers is David Tovey, a former soldier who was forced into homelessness two years ago following a stroke. Tovey said: "It's amazing the power of a disposable camera. A year ago I wasn't able to look at anyone in the eye I had lost so much confidence. After getting two photos in last year's calendar I gained a lot of confidence. It is great to have a project which helps people who are homeless in a positive way."

The My London calendar raises money for art materials for homeless people, and resulting artwork is hung in cafes across London. Any paintings sold result in the artist earning 100% of the sale price. The My London is sold online and in Spitalfields Arts Market between the launch date and the end of December and give work experience to participants.

It's the third year for the Cafe Art Photography Contest which is supported by The Royal Photographic Society whose London members provide photographic training to the participants. 

People in line for a prize include David Tovey, a former soldier and chef who was recently homeless; ROL, who took the photo of the dog "Mr Bond" in front of the Cutty Sark, the cover of the calendar, and Ellen Rostant, 16-years-old, who is one of 100,000 UK children officially classed as homeless as her family is living in temporary accommodation. Her father Andre sells the Big Issue in Soho.

What: Launch of 2016 MY LONDON calendar (and opening of exhibition)

Where: In Spitalfields Arts Market, Brushfields Street, London E1 6AA (car access from Commercial Street). Closest tube Liverpool Street Station.

When: Award Ceremony (unveiling of 2016 calendar) 1pm-1.30pm Monday 12 October, 2015. The photographers will be there from 12 noon onwards and after the Award Ceremony.

CAFÉ ART connects people affected by homelessness with the wider community through art. We hang art in cafes, connecting the buys with the artists. The annual My London photography contest involves 100 single-use cameras being handed out to homeless people for three days in July. The resulting photos make up the exhibition and My London calendar which is sold by the photographers and artists to raise money for art materials. CAFÉ ART is a Community Interest Company (CIC) with all profits committed to benefitting the community. 

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