Tonight’s Evening Standard (Friday March 4th 2016) quite rightly blows the trumpet for £1.2 million of grants being given from the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund to 85 grass-root groups across 23 London Boroughs tackling poverty and social issues in deprived housing estates in London, bringing the total grants given by the Fund since 2010 to an astonishing £10 million.
In the heart of Mayfair, in Phillips’ Auction House in Berkeley Square, two exhibitions demonstrate the power of photography to achieve social change. On the first floor “Take Aim. Shoot”, the work of young photographers from some of these deprived housing estates, in particular the Somerleyton Estate in Brixton, shows the work of young people who have chosen the camera rather than the gun through Positive View’s programme to work with photography to give them more confidence, respect and hope for their futures and to open their eyes to the environment around them through the photographic lens.
The ground floor gallery could not be more different. Here is the world of sport, fashion and celebrity in one man. Many of the best photographers and artists in the world have created images of David Beckham, one of the world’s best-known footballers and a successful businessman, husband, father and fashion model. More than 50 original signed works by photographers including Annie Leibovitz, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Paul Whetherell, Steven Klein and Peter Lindberg are on display alongside artworks by Damien Hirst, Tracy Emin and Guy Whitby The images displayed will be auctioned on 10 March to support David Beckham’s 7 Fund at UNICEF and the Positive Future Foundation in addition to Damien Hirst’s charity Victim, and thus help to change the lives of disadvantaged children in many countries around the world and in London. It is perhaps a pity that there are no images of David Beckham as a footballer in action, given the power the sport also has to achieve change in impoverished communities.
The need for these initiatives is real. Descriptions from some of the youngsters sit alongside the photographs in “Take Aim, Shoot”:
“I got shot three years ago….outside my grandmother’s house they started shooting, he was aiming for my face but I used my hand to cover my face…, so the shot hit my hand instead of my face. When I got shot I realised that life wasn’t a joke, it made me realise that I needed to change and do something else than being on the road.
The Take Aim Shot photography workshop … has helped me envision thing. Its’ made me able to tell a story from a picture and from this I am able to apply it especially to my life and what I want to be in the future.” (Marcus)