“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Muhammad Ali
by Skip Cohen
The SCU “Giving Back” program really has three very important components. First, is helping to build awareness for the photographic community on programs involving photography as a way to give back to the community. In this section of the site we’ll highlight videos and information on non-profits who focus on giving back through the skill set of their supporters, professional photographers.Second, this is where we’ll run posts on ways to be involved in your community. It’ll be a home for guest posts and links with information on charities being supported by the photographic industry. Third, will be an annual cash contribution to various non-profits. The annual decision will be made by the the Deans of SCU together with the SCU Student Council at the end of each calendar year. We’re initially setting things up so that at least 5% of everything, from program registrations to sponsorship will go into a fund for photo-centric non-profit groups. Obviously, I’m hoping this amount can continue to grow higher, but you have to walk before you can run.For information how you can include a video from your favorite non-profit photo-centric charity or participate with a guest post, please email SCU@mei500.com.
Here’s a photography based non-profit that will be new to many of you, although it was started in 1941. The Josephine Herrick Project is a non-profit organization putting cameras in the hands of people who need them most. Because of the generosity of professional photographers and leaders in the photo industry, JHP continues to offer free photography classes and equipment to New Yorkers and beyond that need a creative outlet for self-expression. For program and donation information, please visit www.jhproject.org.The first video is a short overview, while the second one goes into some terrific history behind the project and its diversity today. Photography is an amazing tool for healing, self-expression, building self-esteem and creativity!
Popular Photography Editor in Chief Miriam Leuchter explains the importance of giving back through photography
Josephine Herrick started her organization in 1941, by photographing young men going to war, and sending the photographs to their loved ones.
The ground-floor gallery at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights was buzzing one night this spring. Black-and-white photographs—portraits and close-up details of objects—lined the walls, along with heartfelt statements from the 20 photographers. The crowd included the artists’ friends and family, a famous photographer or two, scores of well-wishers, and even a service dog. I was one of two featured speakers (the other was Brendon Stanton, the photographer/founder of the popular Humans of New York street portrait site).The show, “Portraits of Courage,” was the culmination of a photography class for veterans taught at Brooklyn’s V.A. hospital. The vets had spent 10 weeks working with pro photographer Camille Tokerud and creative arts therapist Beryl Brenner to move beyond the snapshot and make images with a voice all their own. Partnering with the V.A. to create, teach, and support the program with cameras and printing was the Josephine Herrick Project.I wrote about this organization here about three years ago, before I joined its board of directors. Then it was called Rehabilitation Through Photography, a name that served it well for much of its 72 years. But we recently decided to change the name to honor its founder. Photographer Josephine Herrick started it by marshalling volunteers to take portraits of servicemen at the dawn of the World War II, and later retooled it to teach photography to wounded veterans. While extending instruction and equipment to a variety of other underserved people—including kids and adults with autism, at-risk teens, and the formerly homeless—Herrick and those directors who followed hewed to the same mission. It’s enshrined in our new tagline: “Enhancing lives through photography.”Thanks to incredibly generous donations by Canon, Fujifilm, Pentax, Sony, and other camera makers and members of the Photoimaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA), I no longer have to repeat my request for your old cameras. We have new ones! But I urge you to think about how you might be able to help, whether as a donor or a volunteer. Visit our website at jhproject.org and follow us on social media. Order our books of photos from recent students—including the Brooklyn veterans—and from its fascinating archives on Blurb.com. Keep an eye out this fall for a show at the Leica Gallery in New York City and for the photography auction we’re putting together.
The Josephine Herrick Project, though small on funding, has a very big impact on the lives of those it touches. With your support it will flourish, grow, and keep enhancing lives through photography for decades to come.