What a day it has been! We had almost 100 people who attended the launch of London's first ever photo competition for homeless people supported by The Royal Photographic Society
- the oldest photography society in the world and established since 1853. It goes to prove that even a great British Institution, with a Royal Charter, shares the same belief as Cafe Art in recognising & celebrating the talents of this group of individuals!
The iconic St Paul's Cathedral
(and one of the most photographed image in London!) generously opened its door of the Wren Suite to us, for free, to provide a marvellous welcome for everyone. Pret A Manger
came to the rescue, as always, with their kind offer of a healthy lunch to all those present.
Paul kicked off the event by explaining the reasons behind the contest and the rules accompanying it. It was then over to Natalie Robinson, a PhD student from Liverpool University, to offer some encouragement by speaking briefly on her research into how photography can help engage marginalised people. Having been inspired by the first two presentations, it was then up to Jeffrey Eade from The Royal Photographic Society to offer his expertise and experience on how to obtain winning shots using just a Fuji
Equipped with both theory and practical advise, the budding photographers then headed to the various assigned tables to obtain their very own personalised camera, consent form etc. We couldn't have done this bit without the selfless help from the following individuals who take a day off to be here for London's homeless people:
Jeffrey and his skilful RPS Team (comprised of David Cantor, Michael Eade, Ravi Goel, Erskine Lewis, Alen Mathewson, Roger Trowell)
Vittoria Recchi, Christie's
Simon Richardson, St Mungo's
Adele Watts, Disposable
Many well-wishers were there too including Jen Burnham of Homeless Diamonds, Laura McCullagh and Jonathon Graham of Homeless Link, Jimmy Lek of Art Gemini and many others. So thank you everyone for your support too!
Despite the rain in the morning, the sun came out just in time for all the photographers in the afternoon. Given just 5 days, some of whom will be their first time ever to use a camera, they will capture images that brings the true sense of what 'My London, My Friends, My Family and My Life' means to them.
But the greatest surprise of the day was the believe in the talent of these photographers by not one TV network, but two! The event was featured in the evening news of BBC and ITV. So we hope it demonstrates the support and believe that everyone has in the talent and creativity of these artists - just like Cafe Art!
THANK YOU TO ALL THE SUPPORT WORKERS & STAFF WHO WORKED TIRELESSLY TO ENCOURAGE AND THEN BRING THEIR SERVICE USERS TO THIS PHOTO EVENT, AND TO EVERYONE WHO CAME ALONG TO SUPPORT IT!