Carly Kalish, centre, a social worker at All Saints Church-Community Centre is the prime mover behind The Exposure Project. She is flanked by project co-chairs Meredith Blidner (left) and Alexa Feldberg. Photo: Michael Hudson
A photography project that gave disposable cameras and photography lessons to female sex trade workers in downtown Toronto has raised about $38,000 for the drop-in program at All Saints Church-Community Centre. The brainchild of Carly Kalish, a social worker employed by the church, The Exposure Project allowed 10 women living in one of the city’s most dangerous neighbourhoods to share their stories.
The project featured an exhibition of 33 images displayed at Holy Trinity Church from April 12 to 19 and culminated in a sold-out fundraiser for 250 people. Most of the photos sold for $75 to $200 each; ticket sales and donations further boosted the bottom line.
“I thought ‘how neat would it be to empower women and educate the community at the same time,’ ” Kalish told the Anglican Journal. Not only is photography a familiar medium to most people, she points out, but it “allows us to have a window into their lives.” Now Kalish is dreaming of a fashion show. She envisions a sewing group that will work with local designers.
“You love the person. You say, ‘Here’s an instrument you can use to enlighten the rest of the world, [an instrument] which validates who you are,’ ” explains the Rev. David Opheim, the incumbent priest at All Saints. “And then we say, ‘We’re going to show these photos and say to the world that this is really important, and God is present in the midst of all of that.’ ” All Saints will continue the project next year and a 2013 calendar featuring the 2012 photos is under consideration.