Culture

These photos show life through the eyes of food bank users

Hackney Foodbank gave some of their visitors cameras and asked them to take photos of the things that bring them joy. These are the results.

Essential Items by Angela, courtesy of Hackney Foodbank

Essential Items by Angela, courtesy of Hackney Foodbank

A new series of photos by two London food bank users shows the places, people and everyday objects that bring them joy.

These pictures were taken by two of Hackney Foodbank’s regular visitors, Angela and Daniel, and are part of the exhibition Through The Lens: Photographs by Hackney Foodbank Visitors, which will be on show at the Museum of the Home in Shoreditch this October.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to show how people are living in Hackney in 2022 and how our food bank visitors make the most of what they have while living through poverty,” said Pat Fitzsimons, chief executive officer of Hackney Foodbank.

“With this photography project, we wanted to help connect our food bank visitors with new skills and a creative outlet. In putting these photographs on display, we hope to connect the public with the light and shade of life as a food bank visitor in Hackney.”

The exhibition marks the 10th anniversary of Hackney Foodbank and is part of a deepening partnership between the food bank and Museum of the Home. The food bank runs a food parcel distribution at the Museum site every Monday.

“Museum of the Home’s work is about revealing and rethinking the way we live, in order to live better together. This exhibition is an exciting opportunity for us to show a side of Hackney home life not often seen; to share our platform with collaborators that have something important to say about living better together,” said Sonia Solicari, director at Museum of the Home.

“We know there is a difficult winter coming for many. We’re proud to provide Hackney Foodbank with a home as we work together to serve our community.”

The photographs on show are the result of a project run during the summer by photographer and Hackney resident Jenny Matthews.

Every week, the project brought together a group of visitors to Hackney Foodbank to learn the craft of photography. The individuals were provided with cameras and took photos as they went about their daily lives, reflecting on life in their area.

The photos below were selected by the group to be exhibited.

Photos by Angela

“I was born in London, originally from Tottenham, then I moved to Hackney – I looked after my niece and nephew who are now 17 and 20. I was self-employed, but I got sick and I couldn’t do my job any more. I came to Hackney Foodbank in 2021 after seeking advice from a local organisation to help with my low income and debt. I’ve always loved photography and was pleased to be invited by Hackney Food bank to be involved in their photography project. I wanted to learn all different aspects of photography, build my confidence back up again and tell my story through pictures. I would love to be able to get a career in photography, as I love art.”

Community Library by Angela Hackney Foodbank 2022

Community library

“A place where anyone can contribute to it or borrow from it without judgement.”

Bouncing Back by Angela Hackney Foodbank 2022

Bouncing back

“I was waiting at the bus stop and my phone got stolen from me. It was very upsetting but to make myself feel better I went for a walk and took my camera with me. I took this photo because it made me think about how nice it is to have spaces like for anyone in the community.”

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Hobbies by Angela Hackney Foodbank 2022

Hobbies

“During lockdown I did an online nail course and this is my practice hand.”

Essential items

“This is what I got from the food bank. Staff are friendly there. It’s hard to eat healthily. In the shops they push up the prices for healthy things – like drinks. If it’s not good for you it’s cheaper.”

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Photos by Daniel

“I was born in Hackney and first visited Hackney Foodbank in 2019 due to sickness and debt. Since then, I have been on benefits, but my household costs are more than what I can afford, so Hackney Foodbank have helped me out with food and essential items. I’ve always wanted the chance to be a photographer, so I signed up to be involved with the photography project as it was the chance to be creative – to express a better sense of my surroundings through my pictures.”

I Give You My Heart by Daniel Hackney Foodbank 2022

I give you my heart
“This heart shaped table was given to me by my mum and has sentimental value.”

Comfort

“I’m part of a group in Hackney and when we meet up one of the members always brings along some snacks. It makes you feel good putting things in your mouth and eating, it’s a comfort and it’s nice when someone gives you something, a little luxury.”

Appreciating nature

“During lockdown, I had no outside space for my flat so I went for walks along the canal and to Victoria park.”

Home Cooking by Daniel Hackney Foodbank 2022

Home cooking

“I use this air fryer to cook any fresh food I can get like sweet potatoes.”

Through The Lens: Photographs by Hackney Foodbank Visitors is at Museum of the Home from Friday October 7 – Tuesday 30th October 30, 2022. Read more here.

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