Navy Veteran Linda Catlett recently sent a thank you letter to JHP Executive Director, Maureen McNeil, for the amazing opportunity to learn photography at the Bronx Vet Center on Morris Avenue. JHP teaching artists, Robin Dahlberg and Adam Isler, were well received by Catlett and her fellow servicemen, no matter where they were on the photography expertise scale.
Catlett note reads, “As a novice with no experience behind a camera, I am happily surprised to realize a new joy in my life that will compliment my new career as a published author. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity for betterment and enriching my life. The Josephine Herrick Project is a gift that keeps on giving.”
The Portland Art Museum hosted a summer event on June 16, 2016 celebrating military veterans, including sixty 8 x 10 photographs taken by nine veterans in the Josephine Herrick Project program at the Portland Vet Center. Nine combat veterans, from Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, attended the program at the Vet Center over six Saturdays, from April 2 to May 7th. All printing was paid for by the JHP volunteer photographers. This was the first time JHP has had an active presence in the Northwest and the program was well received.
Jack Kane, a US Army veteran who learned photography during his service in Germany, recently retired from the transportation industry and approached Maureen McNeil, Executive Director of JHP, about volunteering with veterans and attended a week long training in NYC in the fall of 2015. McNeil introduced him to NYC veteran programs and issues, the JHP staff, photographers and participants. They visited Jean Cooney at the Bronx VA Hospital, Francisca Nazario at the Queens Vet Center, and Brett Morash, JHP Board member, at Services for the Underserved.
In Portland, Jack recruited volunteers who attended training sessions with JHP Program Director Afiya Williams over conference call and skype. Doug Huegli was the primary instructor with 20 plus years of teaching photography at the high school level and his part time work as a commercial photographer. Ellen Lodine, a retired high school teacher, was assisted. Randy Carpenter, an avid amateur photographer also assisted in a coaching role. Kane attended each session and presented the “introduction” lesson. Rosemary Knapp continues to assist by contacting organizations interesting in hosting public showings of the veteran’s photography.
Photograph by: George (participant)
“JHP recently received a planning grant to grow veteran programs in upstate New York,” said McNeil. “Working with a talented businessman and veteran Jack Kane made the planning and execution of the long distance program relatively easy to maintain the JHP brand and quality of our programming. I am sorry that we did not have travel funding in place to attend the Portland Museum of Art opening.”
Photograph by: Chris (participant)
Thank you Jack Kane, The Portland Vet Center, The Portland Museum of art, all the volunteers and participants. Several days after the event ended, Kane was contacted by the Portland Art Museum and the JHP veteran programs were invited to attend the event again in 2017.
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.
More specifically, we are celebrating the evolution of our beloved organization. In 1941, Josephine Herrick founded Volunteer Service Photography (VSP), an organization that sent photographers into VA Hospitals to work with the wounded warriors of World War II. Offering the camera as a tool for holistic healing and recognition of the whole person, VSP evolved and expanded to reach other populations who faced challenges, like children with physical disabilities.
In March 1983, VSP became Rehabilitation Through Photography (RTP), which had been the VSP tagline for 42 years. Renamed Josephine Herrick Project (JHP) in 2013, we continue this legacy of strengthening individual voice, self-confidence and community engagement through participation in our programs and internships.
Like the evolution of the camera or even the evolution of our understanding of the human condition, our organization has evolved in our mission to make art accessible and uplifting for all. As we enter our 75th year of enhancing lives through photography, JHP is proud to celebrate our long lasting legacy and our growth in supporters, volunteers and individuals served.