The vandalism has prompted an outcry on social media, with users lamenting the loss of the project and condemning the “disgraceful” behaviour.
Twitter user Neil Gough wrote: “So sorry to read this. The inhumanity of some people is staggering but doesn’t outweigh the humanity of others like you who do such good. Keep the faith!”
Also on Twitter, Joshua Geake bemoaned the lack of empathy of the vandals, as the artists’ “carefully nurtured photographs and personal accounts have been smashed to pieces”.
Another comment, written by Geoff Jackson, read: “Truly disgraceful behaviour and I hope that the area is covered by CCTV so those responsible can be caught.”
Barker said he had notified the artists of the damage to their work. “They have each had different reactions,” he added.
“One of them was really upset, while another was quite circumspect and said ‘well, you’ve got to expect that sort of thing, it’s not easy being on the streets, even as an exhibition.’”
Barker organised the project along with Lucy Wood to help people who were experiencing homelessness during the pandemic and were unable to get any source of income.
The project was also a way of documenting an experience that most of the general public have little knowledge of, living on the street during a pandemic.
Participants were paid for their time and provided with disposable cameras. Alimited edition book has also been created using the photographs and certain standalone prints are being sold, any profits from either will go to the photographers.
The exhibition and book were also in memory of Kelly, one of the participants, who died unexpectedly during the project. She was 39 years old.
Barker said: “We want to thank the photographers for producing such interesting work during a difficult period for the world and thank those who have supported and continue to support homeless people.”