From curious wildlife to bustling Chinatown, the MyLondon calendar has something for everyone.
Café Art, the social enterprise behind the annual venture, puts cameras in the hands of 100 homeless people and sends them off around London to snap photos chronicling how they see the city.
The results are then turned into a calendar that is sold around the English capital. Like The Big Issue, the photographers earn half of the sale price of the calendar.
This year’s cover shot – taken by Zakia Chowdhury, who attends the 240Project arts and health activity centre – features the vibrant dressed Jama Elmi outside a cafe on Portobello Road.
“He goes around in this neighbourhood and he talks to everyone. You often see him down here,” said Zakia.
Jama is a support worker for Penrose, and helps look after people with mental health issues. He arrived in London from Somalia as a child in the 1980s.
He switched his “doom and gloom” wardrobe for bright colours about five years ago – and hasn’t looked back.
“I’ve done this to put a smile on people’s faces, I haven’t done it for fame and recognition,” he said.
The well-known local character insists he has more than 100 brightly coloured suits.
Other photos offer a fresh look at iconic London landmarks. Alan McCann, who lives at St Mungo’s hostel near Euston, shot the December photograph. The picture features Alan and his good friend Kevin – who has been diagnosed with cancer – sitting in front of the Tottenham Court Road mural.
Some images reveal the city’s natural side. The March slide reveals a beautiful rose in the grounds of St Paul’s Cathedral.
David Fussell – who was a filmmaker before becoming homeless and getting involved with the MyLondon calendar – will start a university course to study film this September.
“Café Art has been a big part of me being able to go to university,” he said.
The project has been running in London since 2012 and has spun off to other cities, including Sydney, Australia, Budapest, and New Orleans, with Mumbai the latest adopter.
The calendar is available to pre-order now while Café Art is currently crowdfunding, looking to raise £10,000 by September 6 to cover printing costs. The fundraiser can be found at cafeart.org.uk/shop now.
The calendar will go on sale face-to-face at Elizabeth Line stations on World Homeless Day and will be available to buy at Ealing Broadway, Paddington, Canary Wharf and Woolwich on October 10. All of the photographs will also be available to view at an exhibition at Minet Library in Brixton from October 9.
Buy a Big Issue Winter Support Kit for £34.99, you’ll receive four copies of the magazine and vendors could receive immediate tools for survival plus access to vital training and employment pathways to escape poverty for good.