MYTORONTO: Changing Perspectives, produced and managed by Ve’ahavta, will recognize and celebrate the perspectives of people affected by homelessness through the art of photography. The project will capture the experiences, voices and views of those too often living in the social blind spot of our city. By providing single-use cameras to those affected by homelessness in our city, the aim is to shine a light on the resilience of people who are often overlooked and denigrated.
The inspiration for this initiative comes from the MYLONDON photography project organized by Cafe Art. MYCITY projects are now taking place in Manchester, England; New Orleans, Louisiana; San Paulo, Brazil; and Sydney, Australia. Ve’ahavta, in partnership with others, will organize the project here in Toronto and serve as the Canadian representative of this emerging social enterprise.
Participants will gain experience in photography, connect with a community of peers, and receive recognition. The winning photographers will be compensated and their photos will be used in the MYTORONTO calendar. Going beyond artistry, the project will seek to challenge the public’s perspectives on systemic issues of poverty and homelessness in our city.
The core features of this project are:
Photography training and contest
The project will engage approximately 100 people affected by homelessness who will participate in photography training. Single-use cameras will be provided to capture their perspectives; they will be asked to photograph the world around them. The photographs will then be adjudicated by a jury of photography experts and artists.
Premiere public exhibit
The public will have an opportunity to view and vote for the winning photographs. Participants will be invited to speak and share their perspectives at a launch event.The winning photographs will be published in the MYTORONTO calendar.
The premiere initiative of MYTORONTO: Changing Perspectives will be the MYTORONTO calendar that will allow the impact of this project to be seen 365 days a year. The calendar will generate self-sustaining revenue and serve as a potential social enterprise for participants. Currently, we are exploring the dissemination through retail opportunities, on the street, at public festivals, and online.
The photos will be transformed into education and awareness initiatives, to help the public better understand and take action on the issues of homelessness in Toronto. These initiatives will include:
a. An online exhibit that will be promoted through Ve’ahavta and project partners
b. A travelling exhibit for schools and corporate groups
c. An awareness campaign throughout the city