Donate Your Used Digital Camera to LA's Skid Row Photo Club

Los Angeles-based photographer and blogger Dave Bullock says:

The Skid Row Photography Club's first show, The Beauty of the Street, premiered last Thursday during the Downtown Art Walk. The participants were ecstatic to see their beautiful work on the walls and the hundreds of people who came into the gallery loved what they saw.

The SPRC started as an idea I "borrowed" from the movie Born Into Brothels . I wrote a proposal to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council to buy digital cameras which we then gave to people living in Skid Row. I gave the participants brief lessons in composition and turned them loose. For the last six months we've met every Tuesday at UCEPP in Skid Row.

During that time they shot over 20,000 photos between them. An amazing body of work ranging from flowers to architecture to a man defecating in the middle of the street.

Dave asks if any Boing Boing readers might want to donate digital cameras to folks living in Skid Row, so they might extend the project. "The cameras we've been using are about $200 each," he explains. "We're just a club, not a non-profit as of yet."

More info here on how you can participate. The short version: if you would like to donate digital cameras please email Dave directly at

Skid Row, in case you don't know, is a massive, permanent homeless encampment in downtown Los Angeles -- the largest such community in the United States. About 8-9,000 homeless people live there. This "heat map animation" provides a compelling visualization of the site, though data hasn't been updated in a while.


  1. Good idea for a project. I had no idea how many people were living there though – that’s a pretty dreadful stat.

  2. to

    ANONYMOUS , NOVEMBER 24, 2008 1:49 PM:

    we will use anything! Some members are using discarded camera phones and a growing waiting list of worthy members continues to get longer. Anything that is donated will be put to use, regardless of how obsolete it may seem.

  3. Well right now that have 10 megapixel cameras which is great for the size we’re showing them at which is 13″x19″… that being said, one of our members shot a photo on a cell phone that looked great at that size. Ideally the larger the better, but they’ll be happy with anything.


  4. “Born Into Brothels” is an absolutely amazing documentary, too. Definitely worth a rental from Netflix if you’re unfamiliar with it.

  5. So I want to thank Xeni for posting this, we’ve gotten about a dozen cameras so far today. Awesome!

  6. And also read the book “The Soloist” by Steve Lopez (soon to be a movie!). It’s a really cool story of a journalist befriending a former Juilliard student who lives on the LA streets. Really interesting depictions of the homeless population in LA.

  7. So roughly 12 cameras have been donated, awesome! 2 have shown up so far, will document and blog about the recipients reactions tomorrow.

  8. What? “About 8-9,000 homeless people live there.” I don’t believe it. Of course there is plenty of evidence of American indifference to their fellow Americans (let alone to their fellow Iraqi human beings) but 8-9,000 homeless in a single encampment in LA??? I would have thought that the US population would drop rapidly as the words “a great country” stuck in people’s throats and choked them.

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