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.
This week we received a gift from Josephine’s relative in Cleveland, Ohio: Herrick family photographs, Josephine’s personal letters, Christmas cards with her images, and exhibition announcements. What a wonderful way to start JHP’s 75th year! Take a look at this photograph of Josephine, circa 1910, as a young teen holding a camera while boating, most likely at the family summer house on Lake Erie. Her long braid swoops across her back as she concentrates in the moment before clicking the shutter. This is the same magical moment JHP program participants experience today! In a letter from 1927 she grieves her father’s death: “I am so desperately lonely for daddy tonight, it doesn’t seem I can stand it. Another year is ending, and without him right here, though I feel him everywhere, always.” In a letter, decades later, two years before her death in 1972, she wrote, “This Wednesday May 27th I plan to leave for my fiftieth Reunion at Bryn Mawr. My dear friend Peg Biddle is sending her car over for me…” Thank you Dorothy Herrick! At long last, we can pair Josephine’s words and images to tell her story.