A look at the inaugural MyToronto photo contest which placed disposable cameras in the hands of people who have experienced homelessness. Photos by the participants were published in a calendar which they could then sell.
Writer/director/producer: Anne-Marie Jackson
Views From The Street started as an interest in the inaugural year of MyToronto, a photo contest aimed at seeing the city through the eyes of people who have experienced homelessness. It quickly became so much more.
While news outlets helped bolster the project at its launch, I decided, along with my colleague Emily Mathieu, to experience the entire journey, following a dozen participants over more than six months. Why? Because homelessness is an ever-growing reality in Toronto and throughout Canada.
While it is often ignored, we cannot discard the statistics and the people behind those numbers. [For example], in Toronto alone, 94 homeless people died in 2017. The shelter system is overcrowded and there are few long-term solutions.
MyToronto was a way to empower and give a voice to people often misunderstood and overlooked in our society. But the reality is that anyone can be homeless. It could be the loss of a job, a relationship, an unexpected illness. The participants are students, fathers, grandmothers, professionals but most importantly they are human and any one of us could end up in a similar situation.
Through this project I met many, many beautiful and talented people. Some had just become homeless, some were enduring it and some had overcome their housing issues.
MyToronto allowed the participants to partake in a positive and uplifting project, putting money in their pockets and empowering them to showcase their endless potential.
About Anne-Marie Jackson
Anne-Marie is an award-winning photographer, videographer and multimedia producer and has national and international experience across newspapers, magazine and online formats.
Anne-Marie is an instructor and speaker for a variety of clients on the topic of visual journalism and multimedia and is a EPPY, POYi winner and WEBBY honouree. She is currently a visual journalist and producer for the Toronto Star.