Knickerbocker Participants with Volunteer Photographers
Yesterday, veterans from Services for the Underserved (SUS): Knickerbocker Housing culminated their photography program with an in-house photography exhibition. Over the last eight weeks, the small but dedicated group traveled with cameras in tow to various Brooklyn locations learning from JHP volunteer photographers Nousha Salimi and Vik Gupta. On their final meeting, the vets erected their own showcase of photography and accompanyingcaptions. The exhibition comprises photos representing their trips to places like Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
Opportunities to engage photography and communicate with the outside community are necessary for our veteran groups, especially those in shared housing. “This is good for us,” says Israel, resident and participant, “to leave here and see something different. We need it.” The mission of JHP is to support groups like the veterans at Knickerbocker by offering programming that contributes creativity, positivity and new experiences into their lives. This was the second program collaboration between JHP and S:US.
Even more exciting, JHP received an award from the NEA to support teaching artist Nousha Salimi in her photography practice and work in the social justice community. Nousha’s work and the veteran’s photos will reach a larger audience in an exhibition on the Lower East Side from June 22-25.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.
I HAVE A VOICE is a new Josephine Herrick Project 8-week photography program that started in October at the International High School in partnership with the Cartwheel Initiative and Children’s Museum of the Arts. Nousha Salimi is our photograph teacher along with a Parsons intern, Julia Himmel. Students will also write stories, compose music and use their photographs to create a stop film animation with Ashok SInha, Deborah Feingold and the staff at the Children’s Museum.
I have a Voice ” a program at the International High Schools in collaboration with Cartwheel Initiative.
Josephine Herrick Project is a volunteer service organization, providing free photography programs to underserved audiences. JHP believes that cameras are transformational tools that give a voice to all people and strengthens visual literacy. In February of 2014, JHProject teamed up with Step Up youth participants in a local community assignment using photography.
Step Up is a project of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research located within NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. Designed as a youth development and mental health program, Step Up was created by and for high school students. Together they all work towards the goal of promoting social and emotional development, academic achievement, “on time” high school graduation, and a positive transition to young adulthood. Components of Step Up could include youth life skills groups, one on one mentoring, academic supports and internships, and family level engagement.
This past February we had the privilege of working with Step UP. JHP’s volunteer professional photographers, Virgina Franklin, Nousha Salimi, and Rick Gerrity, helped students to learn about photography and how to use the power of images to tell stories about their communities. The first part of the assignment had the students meet to discuss what defines a community. This allowed for the children to identify the community they felt a special connection with and then speak about the strengths and challenges that could occur within these communities.
After that, students used their “photovoice” by using the camera to capture the previously addressed issues in their communities. Once behind the camera, students observed life in their communities through a new vantage point helping them with not only communal issues but with sparking creative juices that could eventually lead to self-betterment and the strengthening of their visual literacy.
A photo book was created capturing their experiences. Above are actual pages from the book.
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This summer JHP partnered with its neighbor, Pace University. Students in the Oasis program, a model college program for students on the autism spectrum, were introduced to the Canon Rebel by JHP photographers, Nousha Salimi and Vik Gupta.
The students are quick learners and really enjoyed both the artistic and technical aspects of photography.
During class they explored areas of Brooklyn and the Financial District.
As a final project, each student designed a book on Blurb.com with selections of their favorite photographs.
I HAVE A VOICE is a new Josephine Herrick Project 8-week photography program starting in October at the International High School in partnership with the Cartwheel Initiative and Children’s Museum of the Arts. Nousha Salimi will teach the class along with a Parsons intern, Julia Himmel. Students will also write stories, compose music and use their photographs to create a stop film animation with Ashok SInha, Deborah Feingold and the staff at the Children’s Museum. Click on the link to see a film the I.H.S. students created last spring.http://youtu.be/HbRpApNf4UA. Also, you can “meet” our participants in this short video:http://youtu.be/HSiYEHF9t8E.
The Josephine Herrick Project began partnering with the International High School in 2013 in an afterschool photo club. Students at I.H.S. are English Language Learners from all over the world who are new to NYC in the last two years. Photography is a perfect tool to help them tell their stories and to explore the city.
JHP recently wrapped up an 8 week long Veteran photography program at a Bronx VA. The course operated out of the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, and was taught by volunteer photographer Nousha Salimi. Nousha worked closely with 15 veterans from late August up until October. The program culminated in a final exhibit of our students’ work on Thursday, Novemer 8th.
This free program run by JHP helps our veterans learn to express themselves and heal through photography. Of the program, Benjamin, a disabled veteran, said, “Now when I am depressed I just go outside and take pictures and it just helps me relax.” Another student said, “It gives us veterans a purpose. Something to look forward to other than doctors’ appointments.”
Photo by Anna, a veteran from the program.
Throughout the 8 weeks, Nousha taught lessons on the basics of photography, covering from depth of field to black and white photography, and everything in between. One veteran named Jose said, “When I began I was lost in figuring my way with a camera. Now I am confident that I can take the type of pictures I desire.” Dallas said, “The Nikon is my gateway to a passion known as photography.”
Nothing makes us happier than hearing from our participants that a program enhanced their lives. Our mission is to spread inspiration and creativity throughout the community. We hope to give our veterans a creative voice and help them to mend emotionally while they are mending physically.
Photo by Anna, a veteran from the program.
Of taking pictures of his fellow participants, Hector said, “It’s very hard to capture the true nobility of these great people.” We could not agree more. We are so thankful to our brave veterans who courageously fight for our country.
Although our Bronx VA program has ended, we plan to start another in the spring to reach those on the waiting list. And we are presently running other programs running out of the St. Alban’s VA, the East Flatbush Community School, and children’s program at the Block Institute. Plus, a new program out of the Brooklyn VA will begin in this week. On the international front, we are also partnering with the Cartwheel Initiative, a NYC based non-profit that conducts coordinated workshops in animation, photography, and music, that inspire youth to find their voices and tell stories about their communities. This after school program was created for children living in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of conflict and the tsunami disaster.
About our photographer: Nousha Salimi
I was born in 1976 Tehran, Iran, I grew up in France till my mid teens, then moved back to Iran. There, I finished my studies and graduated with a BA in photography in 1998 from University of Art and Architecture of Tehran. I moved to Dubai, UAE in 2001 where I began to work as a freelance photographer for various agencies covering events and stories in the middle east and internationally. I am currently based in Brooklyn and work as a freelance photographer. I have been an onset photographer for Pepsi and Toyota (TV film work commercials). I have also worked for ArabianEye photo agency, Eye on Earth Summit (Dubai), Polaris Images, and Gulf Photo Plus teaching digital photography workshops. I am a volunteer at UNICEF, Dessine L’Espoir (HIV prevention campaign in Romania), WFP (world food program) UAE, Al Noor (center for kids with special needs) UAE, and TCV (Tibetan Children Villages) in Dharamsala, India. I am fluent in English, French, Farsi, and basic Arabic.