What an amazing opening reception we had last night at La Mama Theatre featuring Linda Kessler‘s “Subway Sleepers” and the work of program participants from the JHP and Brain Injury Awareness of New York State partnership!
We are so grateful for all that attended and shared love and energy with us. Your support makes it possible to continue to do the fulfilling work of enhancing lives through photography!
Please join us for the opening reception of an exhibition called “Subway Sleepers” at the Downstairs Gallery at La MaMa, a famous experimental theater at 66 E. 4th St. in the East Village on Wednesday, June 22nd from 6 to 8pm. The show is sponsored by the Josephine Herrick Project, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Here’s a great article about the show:
By Lore Croghan – Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In the city that never sleeps, the ultimate act of vulnerability is slumbering on the subway.
Artist Linda Kessler spent five years taking photographs of nappers riding the rails on Brooklyn-bound trains heading in the opposite direction from upscale office workers on their way to jobs in Manhattan skyscrapers.
She turned the photos into works of art by layering them on top of each other and processing them in a special way.
“I wanted the photos to look like I had painted over them,” Kessler, a Brooklyn Heights resident since the 1980s, said in a recent interview.
They will be displayed in an exhibition called “Subway Sleepers” at the Downstairs Gallery at La MaMa, a famous experimental theater at 66 E. 4th St. in the East Village.
Apologies are in order as we open this piece today as we’re writing about an organization that’s been around for 75 years, so we’re a bit late to this party. And, as you’ll see, it’s been quire a ride for photography organization staple The Josephine Herrick Project.
As their mission statement explains, JHP has been educating students who have not had the opportunity to learn the communicative power of photography. Through partnerships with local organizations, JHProject’s completely free programs inspire children, teens, adults and seniors with the visual language of photography, enhancing their abilities to transform communities through artistic vision.
Long History of Inspiration
While the thousands of individual stories and lives this organization has touched, and subsequently changed, could fill up the web with their tales of inspiration, we’ll focus on exactly what the JHProject is all about as, to an extent, they have flown under the radar for many.
First some background, as the since 1941, the Josephine Herrick Project, a not-for-profit organization, has implemented a broad range of photography programs, providing training, direction and equipment to undeserved communities. When you spend time around anyone that has experienced JHP it’s clear the organization believes that by providing this creative platform to the physically and emotionally challenged, the elderly, at-risk youth, homeless and the visually impaired populations, photography can inspire and enable these individuals to channel their energy in an open and expressive way. And exactly that it most certainly has.
“This reinforces independence, self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment that rekindles a lasting interest and enthusiasm about life. No longer are they labeled by their disability but they are enabled by their ability to connect to and capture the world around them through photography,” is the motto JHP proudly stands behind.
Inspired By Tragedy
Photograph by: Sheridan Dean
As for Ms. Herrick herself, the spark for all she and her JHProject would become sprung from tragedy as, like all Americans, her life took a dramatic turn with the December 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. She became a lead instructor at the War Service Photography, training photographers to document news events and educate the public on blackouts. She also organized a booth at the local canteen to photograph young men going off to war, and sent the photos with a personal note to their loved ones in an effort to keep families connected.
When wounded soldiers began returning to NY hospitals, Dr. Howard Rusk of the Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine approached Herrick about using photography as a tool for healing. This challenge required a heroic effort to organize temporary dark rooms, photographic equipment and chemicals in the hospital setting. She trained female colleagues to work with her and started Volunteer Service Photographers, complete with uniforms and badges, creating darkrooms out of beds and sheets, and pushing equipment on rollers from room to room.
When the smoke cleared after WWII the seeds had been planted and the vision for the JHProject was clearer than ever. The power of photography would carry Herrick and her project forward and long after her death in 1972, and some 75 years after her “project” began, her legacy is still going strong.
Professor Virginia Franklin, Associate Professor at St. Francis College and JHP Advisory Committee Member, wanted to share this inspiring film by German filmmaker, Tobias Kriele, The Power of the Weak, about one man’s journey through the free health and medical system in Cuba, as well as his political work to free the Cuban Five.
The Women’s Press Collective hosted a showing of the documentary The Power of the Weak at St. Francis on Monday April 18th. The film is a great look inside Cuba through the profile of a young man named Jorgito who, despite having severe cerebral palsy, completed his education through college and has his disorder well controlled, both made possible by Cuba’s free education and health systems.
On Tuesday. April 19th, Jorgito received a visa to visit the States, and was in New York Saturday throughMonday. The WPC had a second showing of The Power of the Weak and both Jorgito and Tobias Kriele were present for a post viewing discussion. Lisa Daniell, the head of Women’s Press Collective, made a special effort to reach out to People living with disability.
At this time of changing U.S.-Cuba relations, The Power of the Weak screening and discussion provides a unique opportunity for U.S. audiences to learn about some of the achievements of Cuban society. Jorgito, who was born with severe cerebral palsy, and his family, friends, doctors and teachers, describe the physical and academic accomplishments, social integration and political participation of a young disabled person in Cuban society through compelling personal interviews. The documentary provides a picture of the world-renowned Cuban medical and educational systems that persist through the country’s economic suffering.
Jorgito’s deep love for his country found expression through his participation in the campaign to free the Cuban Five ― five Cubans whose imprisonment in the U.S. for infiltrating anti-Cuban organizations in Miami engaged in attacks on Cuba was internationally criticized, generating a world-wide movement for their freedom. Recognizing the relationship of his own development to the development of the society in which he lives,
Jorgito states: ”Without Cuba and its history, I wouldn’t be Jorgito.”
Please contact The Women’s Press Collective at 718-222-0405 for future screenings of the film.
New York, NY — In honor of it’s 75th anniversary, Josephine Herrick Project (JHP), a nonprofit combining photography and social justice, announced the establishment of March 30th as JOSEPHINE HERRICK DAY. This year the organization also established the Josephine Herrick Photography Award, an annual photography contest to support photographers committed to exploring stories of social injustice.
The 2016 winner is Donna Pinckley. Donna teaches photography at University of Central Arkansas and has received many awards, fellowships and honors over the years. From 1990 to 2008, Pinckley hosted fourteen solo exhibitions, and her photographs are currently in the collections of six art Museums. Here is what Pinckley says about her series “Sticks and Stones:”
“The series began with an image of one of my frequent subjects and her African-American boyfriend. Her mother told me of the cruel taunts hurled at her daughter for dating a boy of another race. As she was speaking I was reminded of another couple many years ago, who had been the object of similar racial slurs. What struck me was the resilience of both couples in the face of derision, their refusal to let others define them. Two years ago I began photographing interracial couples of all ages, aiming as always to capture how they see themselves, the world of love and trust they have created despite adversity. I began adding the negative comments they have been subjected to at the bottom of the images.”
The contest was judged by: JHP Board Vice President Miriam Leuchter, editor of Popular Photography and American Photo magazines; and renown photographers Nina Berman and Deborah Willis.
Josephine Herrick Project is committed to using photography to help level the field for the 31% of New Yorkers living in poverty and 11% living with disabilities. Twenty-six NYC communities annually participate in the photography programs, publications and exhibitions. Cameras are used as transformational tools that give a voice to all people and help them connect to the world through the visual language of photography.
With the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, founder Josephine Herrick left her portrait studio on 63rd Street and organized 35 photographers to set up photo booths at NYC canteens where young men going to war gathered. Like an early Facebook or Instagram, these photos were sent with a note to hometowns across the country in an effort to keep families connected. Herrick next organized volunteer photographers to teach programs to wounded soldiers in VA hospitals. This eventually spread to thirty states, and included, children, youth and adults.
Last week, I attended a Black History Month event in Harlem, hosted by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. I was instantly touched by the words of Ming Smith, who was honored that evening, when she said, “photographs are powerful, and looking at your own photograph makes you powerful.” So true! We create our own history when we snap a picture.
I hope you all had a chance to read the Editor’s Letter in the February issues of Popular Photography by Miriam Leuchter. She is also Vice President of the Board of Directors at JHP and heads up the development committee. We are so lucky to have her! She shares her observations on a visit to our photography program that takes place at NYU Langone Medical Center with adults suffering from brain injury. A testament to the magic of the camera lens – of all the arts, I find photography to be the most accessible and versatile. With an introduction by a professional, our participants learn hands-on, create, share and connect. Offering a camera to someone who feels cut off because of poverty or illness is an invitation to be part of the world, and make history.
As March 8th is International Women’s Day, I’d like to give a shout out to Josephine Herrick (1897 – 1972), a professional photographer who combined photography and volunteerism to help the neediest Americans. Inspired by the Red Cross and the USO, she set up a nonprofit during WWII and peace did not end her labor of love. For over 75 years, the organization has cultivated partnerships with military, medical and educational institutions, photographers and camera manufacturers, in a heroic community effort to make social change. In the attached photo from the 1950s, note the pride shown by the Syracuse volunteers (Josephine Herrick stands to our left). In honor of our founder, I am happy to announce the establishment of JOSEPHINE HERRICK DAY on March 30th. Each year, JHP will promote a photography and social justice project selected by people in the field. This year’s judges are Popular Photography and American Photo editor Miriam Leuchter, and photographers Nina Berman and Deborah Willis.
In honor of JOSEPHINE HERRICK DAY and the 75th Anniversary of JHProject, we proudly announce the Josephine Herrick Photography Award. One photographer each year will be selected as winner by demonstrating with images and an artist statement their combination of photography and social justice.
Josephine Herrick Project is a 75-year old arts organization that offers photography programs to diverse communities throughout New York.
About Josephine Herrick:
Josephine Herrick (1897 – 1972) became passionate about photography as a youth when she discovered that darkroom work soothed an eye ailment. After college she studied at the Clarence H. White School of photography in New York City and through the 1920s and 30s Herrick ran a portrait studio on East 63rd street, photographing debutantes and children. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Herrick organized 35 photographers at the NYC canteens to take portraits of young men going to war. These portraits were sent to the men’s families with a hand-written note in an effort to keep families connected. Soon wounded soldiers were filling the VA Hospitals and Dr. Howard Rusk, father of rehabilitation medicine, invited Herrick to provide in house photography programs. This was the beginning of the nonprofit we now know as Josephine Herrick Project. Since then, the organization has enhanced the lives of over 100,000 Americans impacted by poverty and disability through the art of photography.
Deadline: March 15, 2016
Qualifications: We are looking for compelling photographs that embody the ideas of public service and social justice as defined by the photographer.
Submission Guidelines: Photographers are asked to submit 1) a resume or bio 2) up to five photos and 3) a one paragraph artist statement that represent their passion for combining photography and social justice.
How to Submit: Photos and artist statement should be submitted through WeTransfer.com to email@example.com. Maximum submission size is 2.0 GB.
Judging Process: Judges will review submissions anonymously and only the submitted photographs and artist statement will be considered in choosing a winner.
Judges: Miriam Leuchter is Editor of American Photography and Popular Photography Magazines and Vice President of the Board of Trustees at JHP; Nina Berman is a documentary photographer, author and educator, whose photographs and videos have been exhibited at more than 100 international venues and she is an associate professor at Columbia University and is a member of the Amsterdam based NOOR photo collective; Deborah Willis is a contemporary African-American artist, photographer, curator of photography, photographic historian, author, and educator. Among other awards and honors she has received, she was a 2000 MacArthur Fellow.
Winner: The winner will be announced on March 30th, Josephine Herrick Day. Winning photographs will be featured in Photoville 2016* and/or another New York City exhibition. Winning work will also feature on our social media and community newsletter.
*Pending our acceptance into the Photoville 2016 exhibit.
To learn more about us, check out @Jhproject on social media and jhproject.org.
The Josephine Herrick Project is a War Baby born in 1941 with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In honor of the organization’s 75th anniversary, we have published the first collection of Herrick’s WWII photographs: Portraits of Navy Day, October 29, 1945 aboard the USS Helena. These never-before seen portraits have been scanned from negatives by JHP Director of Photography, Krista Kennell, and introduced by JHP board member Lt. Cdr. (Ret) Brett Morash, PhD. The book is available for purchase on our website and supports JHP photography programs in 26 NYC communities, including veteran programs at the VA Hospitals, Vet Centers, St. Francis College, and at veteran homes in Brooklyn through Services for the Underserved.
Veterans, then and now, are thrilled to connect to each other and their larger community through the visual art of photography. This book documents Josephine Herrick’s dream come true, connecting the public with images of men who serve their country with pride and joy.