A Camera Amnesty will give homeless people the chance to become photographers

Shutter Hub and homeless charity Accumulate have teamed up to create a library of snapper gear

Rough sleepers always need the basics to survive with clean clothes, food and drink top of the bill – but the mental strain of living on the streets is often overlooked.

That’s why photography organisation Shutter Hub is teaming up with youth homelessness charity Accumulate for a Camera Amnesty to allow homeless Londoners the chance to show their life through a lens.

The two organisations have joined forces for workshops, tutoring and even a Guardian exhibition in the past, and now they are asking snappers to donate unwanted gear to create a camera library for homeless photography enthusiasts to access.

Camera Amnesty Nico Froelich

“Being homeless is a stressful position to be in and the chance to have creative expression is a great way to give someone a goal and the chance to feel people believing in what they do. It’s a lovely thing,” said Shutter Hub’s Karen Harvey.

The idea for the Camera Amnesty came after a homeless man named Eric won the right to host his own exhibition but lacked the equipment necessary to fill out the show. Now, they are urging snappers to get in touch to donate their old gear.

As Karen explained: “We thought it would be nice to get him a camera but then though why can’t we do this for everyone?

“When we started to get cameras together I thought that we can’t just give them to people but then Accumulate decided to use them in a bank so people can use different types of camera, whether they be DSLRs, film cameras or others. And you know what is really nice? People come in and use them, look after them and bring them back when there must be some temptation to sell them. It’s heartwarming.”


In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.

Marice Cumber, director of Accumulate, added: “The partnership with Shutter Hub extends beyond their expertise and networks (which are amazing anyway) as they also provide us with expert tutors for the workshops and for the portfolio reviews with the Accumulate participants.

“Shutter Hub also set up the Camera Amnesty scheme for us and publicise it widely across their networks. Camera Amnesty means people can donate their unused cameras to Accumulate and then our photography workshop participants can borrow a camera to continue learning and developing their photography skills. A great invention by a great partner!”

Image: Karen Harvey/Nico Froehlich/Shutterhub