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 email@example.com.
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.