JHP Goes Blue for Autism Awareness

Josephine Herrick Supports the Light It Up Blue campaign bringing awareness to people on the autism spectrum.

Every April 2nd, Autism Speaks celebrates World Autism Awareness Day with a global autism awareness campaign called Light It Up Blue. It’s easy (and fun!) to be an advocate — you can do anything from wearing blue to lighting your whole office or school up blue. To Learn more visit www.autismspeaks.org and don’t forget to add #LIUB to any photos you post on your social media!

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.

Josephine Herrick Project teaches photography to participants on the spectrum from kindergarten through college. Recently, our photographers attended a professional development workshop on working with People on the spectrum hosted by our community partner, Ryan Wecker, an expert from the OASIS program at Pace University. The OASIS Program provides support for college students on the spectrum who are able to take regular college courses yet may have difficulty with the social interactions that accompany attending a university. JHP photographers worked with OASIS students last summer and are gearing up for another summer program in 2015.

Here are some snapshots from last summer’s program:

– Elana Hart, Development Director

Program Spotlight: Goodwill Beacon Student Photographers Prepare for College Tour

Goodwill Industries and Josephine Herrick Project recently collaborated to bring a 4-week after school photography program to high school students as they prepare to embark on their annual college tour. Learning to utilize the camera as a tool for documenting and telling a story, the students will serve as the official college tour photographers this year. Supported by the expertise of JHP volunteer photographers, Romina Hendlin and David Mark Erickson, the students focused on composition, finding patterns and point of view. The goal of this program is to guide students in navigating new spaces by using the viewfinder to zoom in on their interests as they relate to choosing a college to attend.

Last week, I led the group in a mock college tour around the Goodwill campus where we staged introductions to “college staff” and practiced the techniques of capturing stories of their individual and collective experiences with photos. As we walked the halls, I acted as a student tour guide asking and answering questions while the photography instructors quizzed them on their knowledge of the camera. To watch these students excitedly engage with the camera was incredible and gave me great confidence that they will return to Astoria with dazzling photos.

This pilot program is the first of what we hope to be many programs in collaboration with Goodwill’s Beacon program.

– A. Williams

Brain Trauma Survivor’s Pursue Photography

by: Elana Hart, Development Director

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. More than 5 million people live with Chronic TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) which may include some vision and hearing loss, loss of memory, and other cognitive deficits. JHP has partnered with a Brain Trauma Survivor’s Group from Lower Manhattan. The photography program is taught by JHP photographers Alberto Vasari and Vik Gupta.

“The class consists of nine students (six female and three male) who have all suffered brain injuries that span pre-natal damage to trauma suffered just a few years ago.” Says Vik “This is a local chapter of a state-wide association and the participants have a wide variety of backgrounds ranging from business to combat. According to their activities coordinator, Mauricio, these workshops have, for the first time, sparked a lot of sharing among group members, increased their engagement with the environment through observation, and provided an outlet for their creative talents. The sharing is not limited to the images captured but extends to their worldview and experiences in life after their injuries. Working with this group is a joy and the benefits for both students and teachers are apparent.”

Vivian Maier Print for Auction on Paddle8 March 17-31

Proceeds support Josephine Herrick Project.

During Women’s History Month, we are thrilled that a Vivian Maier print was donated to us by John Maloof and Howard Greenberg Gallery.

The print is up for bid through March 31, 2015.

Vivian Maier (February 1, 1926-April 21.2009) was an American street photographer born in New York City. Although born in the U.S., it was in France that Maier spent most of her youth. Maier returned to the U.S. in 1951 where she took up work as a nanny for the rest of her life. In her leisure however, Maier had begun to venture into the art of photography. Consistently taking photos over the course of five decades, she would ultimately leave over 100,000 negatives, most of them shot in Chicago and New York City. She was recently the subject of the documentary Finding Vivian Maier.

Disruptions: Visually Impaired Turn to Smartphones to See Their World

Photo: Hyoung  Chang/The Denver Post
In recent years, many smartphone apps that are aimed at blind people have appeared.
By Nick Bilton, NY Times – Bits Blog – September 29, 2013

Luis Perez loves taking photographs. He shoots mostly on an iPhone, snapping gorgeous pictures of sunsets, vintage cars, old buildings and cute puppies. But when he arrives at a photo shoot, people are often startled when he pulls out a long white cane.

In addition to being a professional photographer, Mr. Perez is almost blind.

“With the iPhone I am able to use the same technology as everyone else, and having a product that doesn’t have a stigma that other technologies do has been really important to me,” said Mr. Perez, who is also an advocate for blind people and speaks regularly at conferences about the benefits of technology for people who cannot see. “Now, even if you’re blind, you can still take a photo.”

Smartphones and tablets, with their flat glass touch screens and nary a texture anywhere, may not seem like the best technological innovation for people who cannot see. But advocates for the blind say the devices could be the biggest assistive aid to come along since Braille was invented in the 1820s.

Counterintuitive? You bet. People with vision problems can use a smartphone’s voice commands to read or write. They can determine denominations of money using a camera app, figure out where they are using GPS and compass applications, and, like Mr. Perez, take photos.

Google’s latest releases of its Android operating systems have increased its assistive technologies, specifically with updates to TalkBack, a Google-made application that adds spoken, audible and vibration feedback to a smartphone. Windows phones also offer some voice commands, but they are fewer than either Google’s or Apple’s.

Among Apple’s features are ones that help people with vision problems take pictures. In assistive mode, for example, the phone can say how many heads are in a picture and where they are in the frame, so someone who is blind knows if the family photo she is about to take includes everyone.

All this has come as a delightful shock to most people with vision problems.

“We were sort of conditioned to believe that you can’t use a touch screen because you can’t see it,” said Dorrie Rush, the marketing director of accessible technology at Lighthouse International, a nonprofit vision education and rehabilitation center. “The belief was the tools for the visually impaired must have a tactile screen, which, it turns out, is completely untrue.”

Ms. Rush, who has a retinal disorder, said that before the smartphone, people who were visually impaired could use a flip-phone to make calls, but they could not read on the tiny two-inch screens. While the first version of the iPhone allowed people who were losing their vision to enlarge text, it wasn’t until 2009, when the company introduced accessibility features, that the device became a benefit to blind people.

While some companies might have altruistic goals in building products and services for people who have lost their sight, the number of people who need these products is growing.

About 10 million people in the United States are blind or partly blind, according to statistics from the American Foundation for the Blind. And some estimates predict that over the next 30 years, as the vast baby boomer generation ages, the number of adults with vision impairments could double.

Apple’s assistive technologies also include VoiceOver, which the company says is the world’s first “gesture-based screen reader” and lets blind people interact with their devices using multitouch gestures on the screen. For example, if you slide a finger around the phone’s surface, the iPhone will read aloud the name of each application.

In a reading app, like one for a newspaper, swiping two fingers down the screen will prompt the phone to read the text aloud. Taking two fingers and holding them an inch apart, then turning them in a circle like opening a padlock calls a slew of menus, including ones with the ability to change VoiceOver’s rate of speech or language.

The iPhone also supports over 40 different Braille Bluetooth keyboards.

On all the mobile platforms, people with vision loss say, the real magic lies in the hundreds of apps that are designed specifically to help people who are blind.

Read more: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/disruptions-guided-by-touch-screens-blind-turn-to-smartphones-for-sight/?ref=technology&_r=0

New Blurb Book: The Block Institute & Josephine Herrick Project

 Buy Me Today!  http://bit.ly/14lO0vk


The Block Institute is a Brooklyn-based school and service provider for developmentally disabled children and adults.  A JHP partnership was launched in 2008 to teach basic photography skills to 20 adults mentored by two staff members. The program has grown to three programs for adults, doubling the number of students to 42 in four classes. This past year, with a grant from an anonymous foundation, a year-long photography program  was added for developmentally challenged children in Kindergarten through third grade, which has greatly enhanced their lives and the work of their therapists.

The photography two classes occurred over nine months, from September 2012 through May 2013. The classes took place every other week and was taught by two professional photographers: Elliott Goldstein and Charles Turner. Students learned to critique images, flash lighting, low lighting, black & white photography, close-up photography, minimalism in photography and printing and framing of photographs. The two field trips to the art galleries were cancelled and instead the students photographed in the school, yard and the local neighborhood. The annual Art Expo at the Center was impressive this year as the youngest students in the community exhibited their photographs taken over the year.

Teacher 1: “I feel my students learned a great deal about the cameras, different options on the cameras such as zooming in and out and using the timer. Charlie, the photographer was very knowledgeable and worked well with the children. He made it fun for them. It gave them an outlet to help express themselves and it allowed the adults to view their world, through their eyes. It connected the school with the environment around them.”

Teacher 2: “Charlie instructed the students and helped them not just artistically but therapeutically as well. They learned about depth perception, practiced motor skills, helped with socialization, and boosted self-esteem.

A final project for the 2012-2013 year includes a Blurb book about the program which visually tells the story of the children, their cameras, and the therapeutic reward of self-expression. The Josephine Herrick Project also created a video that can be seen on YouTube www.youtube.com/watch?v=80wvRJbMSis of Director of Special Projects,Todd Alderman’s testimony about the quality of the JHP partnership and its unique opportunity for students with special needs to learn the joy of communicating through photography.

Buy Me Today!  http://bit.ly/14lO0vk