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100 cameras were given to homeless Londoners, the pictures they took are incredible

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Duncan Vicat-Brown
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These Pictures Taken By Homeless Londoners Show a Different Side to the Capital

According to Shelter, there are 170,000 people currently homeless in London. That’s more than the population of Bedford.

Each year, Cafe Art gives these people a voice with the MyLondon Photography Contest. One hundred disposable cameras are handed out at St. Paul’s Cathedral, with the brief to capture the London that they know and love. 

This year, 2,500 photographs were narrowed down to a shortlist of 20, which are currently on display in Spitalfields Arts Market, 

A final 12 will then be chosen for a calendar by a public vote - you can buy that calendar here.

These Pictures Taken By Homeless Londoners Show a Different Side to the Capital 1

This shot of Canary Wharf, taken by Karina, reminds us of those classic pictures of Grand Central Terminal.

“In school I was bullied, which interfered with a lot of my education. Things were disrupting at home. I got removed from home at 14 and by 15 I was homeless. I ended up in shelters and never got permanent accommodations. Then I got help and was able to stay in a shelter.”

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This shot, taken by Maya in Shoreditch, is too adorable for words.

“My model is Jonathan, the son of two of my best friends. He’s five years old. It’s such a sweet age: full of curiosity and still so innocent. You hear that old adage never work with kids, but because he’s my little buddy, making him smile and laugh for the photo wasn’t an issue.

“I had a vision for capturing this spot, but when we arrived I realised he wasn’t tall enough to fit the wings, so had to find something to add a bit of height. I asked around eventually managed to borrow this mini step ladder which was perfect.”

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Husna stumbled upon the location for this gorgeous shot while cycling with a friend.

These Pictures Taken By Homeless Londoners Show a Different Side to the Capital 3

This instantly iconic picture, taken by Maya, showcases London’s most beloved mural and some truly great knitwear.

“Being able to combine my love of music and street art in photography is really cool. I met Tashomi around 10 years ago at a gig, so when I had the idea for this shot, he came to mind. I asked him to play his sax while taking the pictures, which meant we attracted some attention.”

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According to photographer Lou Danby, “This is Mick Taylor, known as Teapot, Little Harvey and more nicknames. Lots of people know him as he’s been round a bit. People had thought he was dead so I took a photo of him in front of this mural on Brick Lane!”

Mick, 72, says Lou is “A great help. She comes around and takes me for walks.”

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This might well be the prettiest shot of the Shard we’ve ever seen; it looks like it’s been beamed back from the future.

Photographer Hugh Gary says: “I visited London Bridge to take a photo of the platform, turned around and saw the full length of the shard, and thought the line of the platform canopy merged perfectly with the building.”

Hugh became homeless two years after a 10-year stretch in the British Army, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He found shelter with west London mission’s Big House, a hostel for veterans, and is now in his final year of a Photography degree at the University of West London.

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This is a very good picture and, crucially, also a very good boy. It was taken by Ella Sullivan, a trained hairdresser who’s just finished a pre-foundation course in Art and Design at Mary Ward Centre in London.

“There was a doggie dress up contest. I went across and took some shots of the dogs I liked, including Ace who seemed to be posing.”

(Images: MyLondon/Cafe Art)