The Camera Amnesty is our appeal to help homeless photographers – could you donate your unwanted cameras and photography equipment to help others?
We’re very proud to be able to work with inspirational charities and organisations across the UK that empower homeless people and refugees through photography.
Having worked with the charity Accumulate, supporting them with photography workshops, tutoring, portfolio reviews at The Photographers’ Gallery, and with their exceptional exhibitions at The Guardian, we decided to establish the Camera Amnesty (read about that moment, here).
We saw for ourselves how the work that Accumulate does is life changing, and we wanted to find another way to make sure that homeless photographers can carry on developing their careers and expressing themselves through their creative skills. Can you imagine seeing the image but not being able to take the shot?
Over time the Camera Amnesty has grown to the extent that we are able reach out to more organisations across the UK, including the Red Cross, Crisis, Lodging House Mission in Glasgow, People of the Streets, Olive Branch Arts, and STARS (Supporting Treatment Accommodation & Recovery in Suffolk), and spread the generosity of the photographic community even further. #cameraamnesty
Do you have a camera or photography equipment you’d like to donate?
We can accept digital and film cameras, from D/SLRs to point and shoots, camera phones, film, memory cards, bags and anything that could be of use to a photographer.
Thank you to everyone who has supported this project by donating equipment and spreading the word.
Think you have something? Brilliant. Get in touch with us here.
Please note: on the rare occasion where an item can’t be used by any of the groups (due to age, damage etc) rather than dispose of it, we will attempt to sell it on, and any income from this will go straight back into Camera Amnesty funds.
About some of the organisations the Camera Amnesty supports:
Accumulate runs creative workshops for people affected by homelessness and as a means to empower them to build their confidence, wellbeing and self-esteem, so that they can move forward more positively with their lives. Residents of 6 hostels across London have access to the photography course which works in collaboration with leading museums and galleries including The Tate, Barbican and The Photographers Gallery. Since 2016, ten previously homeless people have benefitted from Accumulates scholarship scheme and become students at Ravensbourne University London.
Accumulate have been able to give cameras to those in need and develop a camera library which is accessible by homeless photographers across London. The equipment donated through the Camera Amnesty has meant that in all the courses run, everyone has been able to access equipment which is right for their needs.
Lodging House Mission is a Glasgow based charity dedicated to providing care and support to homeless, vulnerable and socially excluded people. The Mission has over 100 years experience in helping disadvantaged people get their lives back on track and one of the ways of them doing so is to enable homeless members to develop new skills and feelings of self worth.
The Mission runs blocks of workshops that help development in photography and journalism skills. Members have exhibited within the mission as well as having many publications of images and text in the Pavement Magazine. They have also taken part in the Network Map project that saw many of the members take to the streets of Glasgow to photograph locations that could give a visual reference to places offering additional aid in the form of food, haircuts, advice etc. Camera Amnesty helps the mission to provide equipment allowing more members to take photographs, get involved in more projects and join in on the teaching blocks.
Olive Branch Arts (OBA) work creatively with refugee and other displaced communities here in the UK and abroad, they are committed to building relationships across communities to promote love, dignity and care for all people who seek refuge. By offering participants a safe place to come together and learn new skills OBA aim to develop confidence in young refugees to enable them to visually document their own stories and reduce the isolation of their community through the sharing of photography.
Their next project is taking them to Yerevan in Armenia to work with the only Domestic Violence Support Centre in the country. The goal of this project is to not only empower the women they will be directly working with but to give them and the staff from the Women’s Support Centre the skills, autonomy and independence to share the photographic training they receive with other Women in the future.
OBA will be using cameras donated through Shutter Hub’s Camera Amnesty at the Women’s Support Centre (WSC) in Armenia. This equipment will allow all of the initial participants to have the equipment they need to take part as well as creating a camera library for other women to join the project at a later date.
People of the Streets (POTS) runs photography projects to empower people experiencing homelessness, in locations such as Manchester, Nottingham, London, Madrid, and Padua. POTS is working to enable those who know the issue from the inside out to strengthen their voices, especially in those spaces where they are normally portrayed without one, and provides the tools and the platform for them, so they can tell their stories and use their photography to take control of how the world looks at them, breaking through prejudice, and changing public views and behaviours towards homelessness.
POTS uses equipment donated through the Camera Amnesty for current and future projects, and will give people who have a desire to take photography forward a means of developing their skills and well-being. POTS organises photo exhibitions and sales, and the money raised from these benefits the artists in a variety of different ways. In addition to receiving material help, photographers have explained a positive impact on mental health and self-esteem, and in some cases participation in a photography project has led to participants re-engaging with social services.
Red Cross Hackney Centre runs weekly sessions on photography and storytelling with photographer Venetia Menzies. Despite the ups and downs experienced by their service users (asylum seekers, destitute individuals and those in need) they have regular attendance from over fifteen students from different countries around the world.
The group have held an exhibition at the V&A Museum during Refugee Week. Visiting professional photographers from Magnum have given students group training, and art centres such as the Barbican regularly run private exhibition tours with the group. However, none of this would be worthwhile without the provision of cameras for these students to continue to develop their practise.
Crisis run workshops and courses across the UK. Crisis Skylight Centres are accredited education, training and employment centres, offering practical and creative workshops in supportive and inspiring environments, together with formal learning opportunities that lead to qualifications and finding work.
In Newcastle, Andrew McCormick is the photography tutor. Several hundred homeless people have engaged successfully on the courses he has led, and he has seen how they have gained a great deal of confidence and self-belief.
“One of the major issues has been providing our members with equipment for them to use as this is an expensive area in terms of equipment costs. We’d been sharing cameras that had been patched up and repaired countless times. Through the Camera Amnesty we now have more cameras to use in the sessions, and can also provide our members with the opportunity to take cameras away with them and use them in their own time, I’d had lots of requests but never been unable to do so before. Building trust is so important for everyone concerned.
I’ve been amazed at the quality of the cameras donated, not just cameras but also additional equipment, chargers, battery packs, camera bags etc. Thank you from myself and on behalf of all our members who will really benefit from this in so many ways.” Andrew McCormick – Tutor, Crisis Newcastle.