Celebrating 20 Years of The Big Issue
Last night, I joined 200 other guests to celebrate 20 years of the Big Issue. To mark the occasion, photographer Paul Wenham-Clarke was commissioned to create a series of wonderfully moving photographs called ‘Hard Times’ being exhibited at St Martin’s in the Field.
Paul photographed a series of Big Issue vendors in their “homes” which ran the gamut from squats to hostels, from caravans to nothing more than the street. These intimate portraits give us a glimpse into the hidden lives of Britain’s homeless, offering us an insight into their background, their family situation, the challenges they face while selling the magazine, their achievements and aspirations. Many of Paul’s photos focused on former servicemen who had served Great Britain in conflicts reaching back to the Falklands War.
It was a great evening that echoed the magazines launch 20 years ago in the very same spot. Founder John Bird gave a moving and hilarious account of how the Big Issue was born reminding the audience of the role the magazine has in the lives of the homeless and the fabric of British society.
You can help the Big Issue Foundation celebrate their 20th anniversary by joining one of the exciting challenges they’re running throughout 2011 or by making a regular donation. To get involved, click on the links below: