The Cafe Art 2019 MyLondon calendar is a social enterprise initiative by London people affected by homelessness.
It's the 6th calendar we have done and as we are a social enterprise, the money goes back to the photographers, the people who sell the calendar in the markets of London (many of whom are homeless or have been homeless) and back into the project. This Kickstarter is to take orders for the calendar and photographs and the money will pay for the printing of the calendar. Individual photographers will earn £8.50 from each of the 20 photographs sold here.
We handed out 100 Fujifilm QuickSnap one-time-use cameras to people who have experienced homelessness or are currently homeless, with the main handout being at St Paul’s Cathedral June 21. The exhibition, from July 30 to August 5, was a huge success with a lot of coverage in the local media online and on local TV news.
Participants were given the theme "My London" along with training from The Royal Photographic Society. The theme was purposefully open and participants were encouraged to look at what they love about their city. This is not a calendar that shows what homelessness looks like - it's a love letter to London by photographers who happen to be homeless.
The photographers were given just five days to photograph London from their perspective before the cameras had to be returned, the films processed and printed and a panel of judges came together to create a shortlist of 20 for the public to vote on. More than 1,500 votes were received at Spitalfields Arts Market in the first week of August 2018, the winning photos will form the Café Art 2019 MyLondon calendar, profits from which go directly to the participants.
Setting our target this year based on last year's success
Last year we passed our goal of raising £7,500 to pay for the first 75% instalment of the printing and production costs. Thanks to the success we were able to raise £8,707.
We don't take anything for granted so we have set our Kickstarter goal at £7,500 again this year. The UK economy is experiencing uncertain times because of Britain exiting the EU and not having future trade agreements known yet.
While we don't know how the selling of the calendar to local London people will go this year, we do know that with the pound being low we will hopefully attract more buyers from overseas as in the past we have had hundreds of buyers in the US and Germany among other countries.
Many of the overseas buyers discovered us three years ago. MyLondon's Kickstarter success in 2015 and 2016 blew us away (see the hundreds of links here, including Buzzfeed, Bored Panda and the NBC Today Show) This has resulted in the project not only growing in London, but partnerships with projects around the world have also become possible. As well as running MinhaSao Paulo in Brazil in November 2015 with With One Voice, we are helping several other cities including MySydney, MyBudapest, MyNew Orleans and MyToronto.
MyBrighton & Hove calendar on Kickstarter at the same time!
This year the MyBrighton & Hove Photo Project was launched by local volunteer Lucy Groenewoud. Cafe Art was able to help this new UK project start with funds from last year's MyLondon calendar success. We asked Fujifilm UK to donate 100 cameras and Jessops offered to develop the film and print the photos. There will be 1,000 MyBrighton & Hove calendars printed and their Kickstarter target is £2,500 which will help pay for the printing of the calendar.
Why not check both calendars out and buy the one you like the best? We don't mind if you do, in fact we would love it if you do!
Photography mentoring for the photographers
As a result of the success, in London we have been able to continue the photography mentoring programme for the photographers, and pay volunteers who are homeless for roles such as hanging and managing exhibitions.
The photography mentoring group meets in the Qbic Hotel in East London every two weeks to be mentored by members of The Royal Photographic Society. After three years of self-funding, we received a grant for £5,000 last year to run the group and they will have an exhibition later this year.
In the group the participants learn about digital photography with cameras donated by Fujifilm.
Cafe Art's goals include:
• empowering people affected by homelessness, not only through art, but through connecting with the public
• telling the stories of individuals who are affected by homelessness
• raising awareness in the general public about issues from the participant’s personal perspective.
Since 2012, sales of calendars have raised more than £85,000 for art groups, artists and vendors, and to sustain the project itself. The last two year's Kickstarter campaigns for 2016 and 2017 calendars went viral worldwide enabling us to print the calendar, frame the exhibition and reimburse the photographers. This year we want to do it again, but first we have to print the 2018 calendar and to do it we need your support.
The 2019 MyLondon calendar photos
The film from the project was processed at no cost by Jessops in Kingston and the negatives scanned and the exhibition printed by Jessops Oxford Street.
MyLondon is a quality product - a real art calendar, with FSC certified paper and designed for free by top London graphic firm, CarterWong.
The contributors to the calendar - the winning photographers - all wrote or edited their own stories.
The calendar is still in the production stage but below are the 13 photographs chosen by public vote in Spitalfields Arts Market in early August. Following those are the additional 7 photos that almost made it - they are all available to buy and the photographers will receive 50% of the profits.
Non-calendar exhibition photos
The following 7 photos were chosen for the exhibition, but are not in the calendar. You can still order them as rewards. Like the other photos, 50% of the profit will go to the photographers (£8.50 per photo) with the rest going back to cover project costs.
Risks and challenges
This is the 6th MyLondon calendar we have produced, so we are experienced in the process of writing, editing and printing the calendar. However this year is a tough year for the UK. Because of the uncertainty of the Brexit trade negotiations with the EU, the economic climate is more uncertain than ever, and we don't take anything for granted.
We know we need it ready for the annual week-long exhibition in Spitalfields Arts Market (15-22 October) so we have a fixed deadline for the launch. However, we need to reach our Kickstarter target to be able to confirm the final amount printed (7,000 calendars).
Something that is always a challenge is successfully selling all of the calendars printed in arts markets while providing work experience to people who have been or are homeless. This year we are focusing on giving the vendors more independence to work on their own, either in the market or on the street.
Vendors affected by homelessness who want to sell the calendar for themselves on the streets or to friends will still be able to do so through the vendors programme: buying the calendar for £5 and selling it for £9.99. In the markets this will be buy for £4 and sell for £9.99.
Any additional calendar revenue made in the markets will go towards project expenses (the rest of the printing bill, food and transport costs for the vendors) and framing art by homeless people for cafes, which is Cafe Art's main focus.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)