Big Issue Vendor

An exhibition of photographs snapped by homeless people across London is raising money for rough sleepers.

Last month organisers of the MyLondon Photo Project handed out 100 disposable Fujifilm cameras to rough sleepers, sofa surfers and others affected by homelessness at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The images were developed a week later with remarkable results.

Participant Richard Fletcher captured a shot of a flower blooming in a London gutter. He said: “I was in Charterhouse Square when I noticed this flower. Straightaway the symbolism hit me about on the one hand being homeless, but if you keep trying hard enough, you will eventually blossom.”

Every one of the pictures is for sale. The cash raised is going back to the photographers or to fund more art projects for people affect by homelessness.

Each photographer was asked to pick their favourite images and now more than 200 photos are on display.


The Big Issue magazine is a social enterprise, a business that reinvests its profits in helping others who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or whose lives are blighted by poverty.

Organisers have chosen a shortlist of 20 images which can be voted on by the public for the chance to get into the 2020 MyLondon calendar.

Cafe Art oversees the project. Paul Ryan from the social enterprise, which hangs the work of artists affected by homelessness in independent cafes across London, said: “The project has been very successful in helping give participants a sense of self worth.”

He added that the scheme has inspired similar projects around the world.

The project is now in it’s seventh year. Photographers taking part have earned more than £150,000 from the sale of their photos and the annual calendar.

The Royal Photographic Society has supported the project since 2013. Executive director Dr Michael Pritchard said: “Café Art has found an innovative way to use photography to support and empower the homeless to change their own lives for the better”.

The exhibition is open now until Sunday at Spitalfields Arts Market, Brushfield Street, from 10am to 5pm. The market is also offering space for artist affected by homelessness.