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Ambassadors | Voices

Karmen Royal

A 30 year old professional photographer from London.

Karmen Royal joined a charity called Wembley to Soweto team in 2016 at the age of 26. She was one of eight students to receive training on the first course the charity ran in partnership with Arsenal In the Community. As a student who loves football and who supported Arsenal FC, she not only quickly developed a love of photography but found herself in what she describes as the best educational environment – where she was learning ‘on the job’ – photographing the action and atmosphere inside the Emirates and capturing her team in action but also documenting the outreach that Arsenal in the Community do and telling stories, with her camera, of events that affect those in the community in which she lives.

Over the last two years, the charity has continued to support and work with Karmen by offering her a diverse range of further opportunities. She has also been able to use her skills and experience to be a mentor to other students but more recently, to work alongside John Cole (a professional photographer and main teacher) as assistant teacher on courses run in partnership with The Premier League and the PFA.

Karmen has taken portraits of Sachin Tendulkar, photographed the Candoco Dance Company, Eurostar, the Arsenal and Man City first team as well as Arsenal Legends, Team GB cycling at The Velodrome, the action at Sussex Cricket Club and Brighton Race course and her photographs capturing the energy at Elthorne Boxing Gym were shortlisted for the MTV Brakes EMA competition and of recent the onset photographer for a short film called “Drawn Out” which was created by youths on the Elthorne estate in Islington.

Karmen has given a number of media interviews on both BBC local and national radio as well as on TV and pitch side at the Emirates and Stamford bridge, discussing the work of the charity and the difference it has made to her life as she continues to be an ambassador for all the charity does.

Commenting on turning around her life, Karmen said “Before joining the course I was not in a great place. I was homeless and suffering ill-health but because of the skills I learnt and the support I have received, I’ve been able to pursue a career in photography as well as help others learn also, this has really helped me too. I now have a place to live and I’ve had experience in so many aspects of photography; I can’t thank those that have helped me along the way enough for their continuous help and support, when just one believes in you, it is amazing what you can achieve.”