Page last updated at 12:01 GMT, Thursday, 24 April 2008 13:01 UK

Celebrity shots help adoption scheme

By Jane Mower
BBC News, London

Cherie Blair with child

Cambridge Jones had little trouble finding famous faces when he embarked on a pioneering adoption campaign in London.

As a professional photographer he turned to the likes of Cherie Blair, actor Colin Salmon and singer Heather Small to help find loving homes for thousands of children in care.

Mr Jones, 42, said celebrities were "queuing up" to take part in the Home Time photography exhibition which shows 38 children awaiting adoption.

The concept, borrowed from a scheme in the US, features children from the London boroughs of Newham, Camden, Havering and Barking and Dagenham.

Many of them are considered hard to place as they have siblings they must be placed with, are from ethnic minority backgrounds or have had tough childhoods.

Their photographs, taken by celebrities, will appear in a London gallery alongside pictures of the celebrities, taken by the children.

Perfect life

Mr Jones, who was adopted at the age of two, has been working on the initiative with children's charity Barnardos.

He said he wanted to capture the issue in a different way from the norm.

"We are trying to unlock the notion that people who have already had children, and have a big house and a big heart, might want to adopt an older child," he said.

"Not only do we want to find homes for the children involved but to increase the number of people coming to the table to adopt".

The sad thing with these children is that someone hasn't stepped in yet and it might never happen
Cambridge Jones

Government figures for London show that in March 2007 there were 11,290 children in local authority care, and between March 2006 and March 2007 a total of 380 were adopted.

Mr Jones was inspired after reading about Heart Galleries, a similar scheme in the US.

Since its inception in 2001, images of children awaiting adoption are now displayed in public spaces across 40 states every year.

"I'd been shooting Anthony Hopkins on a Malibu beach and thought it was a great way for me to thank the world for my perfect life," he said.

Mr Jones was adopted by his aunt and uncle, when his parent's marriage fell apart, and grew up in Machynlleth, in Wales.

"Adoption was a very positive experience for me", he said.

"I was brought into a loving home and was too young to remember anything other than someone stepped in and changed my life and made me happy.

Cambridge Jones
Photographer Cambridge Jones was adopted by relatives

"The sad thing with these children is that someone hasn't stepped in yet and it might never happen."

Martin Narey, Barnardos' Chief Executive said: "This is a fabulous concept with some beautiful shots which show the children in an innovative way.

"We do hope that this project will get people talking about adoption, visiting the gallery and making inquiries about adoption."

The exhibition is at the Getty Images Gallery in Eastcastle Street, central London, until 3 May.




SEE ALSO
In pictures: Adopt a child
24 Apr 08 |  In Pictures
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