MyBrighton&Hove Photo Project

29 August 2018

Region: South East

Café Art is a social enterprise organization with the mission of connecting people affected by homelessness with the wider community, through their art.  Supported by the RPS and its London Region volunteers, Café Art has run an annual photo competition called ‘MyLondon’ since 2013, whereby contestants are given single-use cameras and five days to photograph London as they see it.  Following this, a panel of judges selects a number of photographs which are exhibited and voted on by the public to produce a MyLondon calendar.  Proceeds from calendar sales are used to cover printing costs and are shared with participants who sell the calendar.

Following the success of the MyLondon project, Café Art extended the initiative to Brighton & Hove this year.  Volunteers from RPS London and  South East Regions, and Brighton & Hove Camera Club joined forces with other helpers and care workers to provide their support.  On 29 June, 100 Fujifilm single-use cameras were handed out to people affected by homelessness at One Church in Brighton.  Participants were given a brief to take photographs on the theme ‘My Brighton and Hove’.  Training on how to use the cameras was given by volunteer photographers at workshops in May and June, and again on the day of the handout.  The cameras were returned on 4 July, to be processed and printed by Jessops.  The top 20 prints were then selected by a panel of judges and displayed at ONCA gallery in Brighton so that images for the calendar could be selected by public vote.  Two sets of prints (one monochrome and one colour) were then returned to the contestants to select their three favourite images for a public exhibition in October.

The project is run completely by volunteers and sponsoring organisations provide their goods and services without charge.  It’s the first year of the project and so far, feedback from the photographers who took part, and organisations supporting them has been overwhelmingly positive.  To fund the printing of the calendar, Café Art has produced a short Kickstarter video introduced by MyBrighton&Hove Project Manager, Lucy Groenewoud.  Please click here to view

The calendar is available on Kickstarter at a reduced price in addition to prints of the top 20 photographs.  (Participants receive half the money raised from the sale of their photographs). The Kickstarter will cover the cost of printing the calendar, exhibiting the photographs in October, reimbursing the photographers and setting up an art and photography mentoring scheme in Brighton and Hove.  Once the calendar is printed, vendors affected by homelessness who wish to sell the calendar for themselves can do so through a vendors programme: buying the calendar for £5 and selling it for £9.99.

Please note: the project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by 6 pm on Saturday, September 15th 2018 so please help us by sharing it on social media!

SE Region and Documentary Group member, Chris Jennings ARPS, has documented various stages of the contest to provide a visual narrative for Café Art and complement their video.  Chris’s images have been used in this article.

On behalf of everyone on the South East Region Committee, a heartfelt ‘Thank you’ to Brighton and Hove Camera Club, Chris and our London Region colleagues for all their support.  Finally, congratulations to Lucy who took on the challenge of bringing the project to Brighton and Hove and who has dedicated so much of her time and energy on a voluntary basis to help those affected by homelessness in such a positive way.

Paul Connor LRPS

RPS Sussex Area Representative