Photography success for YMCA resident who was ignored on the streets
- Credit: Archant
A YMCA resident says his “stubbornness” was key to surviving homelessness and finding new success in photography, with the help of a Crouch End social enterprise
Sam Adesanya lives at the North London YMCA, but has a new job at the Crouch End Picturehouse and is preparing for an upcoming exhibition at The Guardian’s offices.
He was one of the first participants in Accumul8 - a unique project which encourages homeless people to explore their creativity through jam-making, photography and film making.
Sam started taking part in workshops a couple of years ago when organiser Maurice Cumber visited the YMCA.
“They said, if you want to make a life for yourself, do what you want to do - and here’s a way with photography.” “We did our first exhibition at the YMCA gym.”
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“I sold some pieces - and that was very surprising because I didn’t think I had talent.”
Sam lived with his family, but became homeless when relations with his father fell apart.
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“We bleed the same blood, we have the same fears, but it’s as if when you become homeless, you’re invisible,” the 29-year-old said.
“And that’s the worst thing you can do to someone, not acknowledge their existence.
“Because they think, if I killed myself, no one would care.”
When Sam was on the streets, he had a series of jobs, including events-organising, and this presented challenges.
“It’s very tough, you get up and the first thing you do is find a place to have a shower, wash your clothes, get some food down you and look like you’re still a member of society,” he said.
Sam managed to do this by finding a hub for homeless people before moving to the YMCA.
He describes himself as “extremely resilient and stubborn.”
Always sketching, Sam wants to win a new scholarship which has become available for Accumul8 participants to study digital media at Ravensbourne University.
“What I want to do is photography, art, making films, acting - even modelling.
“I’d give everything a chance, anything creative.”
- Accumul8 photographers will be exhibiting at The Guardian offices from July 14. See: accumul8.org.uk/preparing-for-the-accumul8-photography-exhibition/