View From a Home Without Walls

“Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it — memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.” – Tad Williams, author

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“What happens when you give 100 homeless people disposable cameras?”

This is the question a recent Upworthy article posed (link here, photo credits at bottom of post).

Answer? “You get true works of art.”

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Indeed.

An organization called Cafe Art gave 100 homeless individuals disposable cameras to utilize around London this past July. One of Cafe Art’s goals is to empower those affected by homelessness through expression with photography and art.

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The theme of the project was called “My London.” More than 2,500 photos were processed from the 80 (out of the original 100) cameras that were returned.

20 were chosen to be published in a 2016 calendar.

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Turns out that this group has been doing this since 2012, raising money to reinvest in the project, covering printing costs and supplies, as well as paying the photographers.

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Cafe Art says, “When we’re able to see the world through someone else’s eyes, we can better empathize with what they’re going through. By providing an outlet for a marginalized group — in this case, people experiencing homelessness — Cafe Art is helping to connect them to a world in which they might not feel welcome.’

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The calendars are on sale at Cafe Art’s Kickstarter page (link here) and will be released on October 12, two days after World Homelessness Day. In addition to cash awards, photographers get 50% of calendar sales.

What an amazing way to see a population that is largely invisible.

Interestingly enough, I read another article about homeless individuals recently: “What is Your Most Prized Possession? Here’s How 5 Homeless People Answered.” (Link here) It was a valuable article, if not somewhat uncomfortable.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence the topic of homelessness has come up twice in a week’s span. Life is funny that way. I find that it hands us little themes, leaving it up to us to find the meaning. I’m not sure what this riddle is trying to tell me. The strongest message seems to be that clarity and vision comes when “things” are stripped away. It’s easier to drill down and focus on what is truly beautiful, interesting, and important when you shed the excess. But I’ll have to think about it some more.

Photo credits from top to bottom: ROL, XO, Goska Calik, Goska Calik, Desmond Henry, Ceci

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