The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Photo by: Linda C.

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.”

Photo by: Dondi M.

Photo by: Luther C.

Photo by: Marco B.

Happy Josephine Herrick Day!

New York, NY — In honor of it’s 75th anniversary, Josephine Herrick Project (JHP), a nonprofit combining photography and social justice, announced the establishment of March 30th as JOSEPHINE HERRICK DAY. This year the organization also established the Josephine Herrick Photography Award, an annual photography contest to support photographers committed to exploring stories of social injustice.

The 2016 winner is Donna Pinckley. Donna teaches photography at University of Central Arkansas and has received many awards, fellowships and honors over the years. From 1990 to 2008, Pinckley hosted fourteen solo exhibitions, and her photographs are currently in the collections of six art Museums. Here is what Pinckley says about her series “Sticks and Stones:”

“The series began with an image of one of my frequent subjects and her African-American boyfriend. Her mother told me of the cruel taunts hurled at her daughter for dating a boy of another race. As she was speaking I was reminded of another couple many years ago, who had been the object of similar racial slurs. What struck me was the resilience of both couples in the face of derision, their refusal to let others define them. Two years ago I began photographing interracial couples of all ages, aiming as always to capture how they see themselves, the world of love and trust they have created despite adversity. I began adding the negative comments they have been subjected to at the bottom of the images.”

The contest was judged by: JHP Board Vice President Miriam Leuchter, editor of Popular Photography and American Photo magazines; and renown photographers Nina Berman and Deborah Willis.

Josephine Herrick Project is committed to using photography to help level the field for the 31% of New Yorkers living in poverty and 11% living with disabilities. Twenty-six NYC communities annually participate in the photography programs, publications and exhibitions. Cameras are used as transformational tools that give a voice to all people and help them connect to the world through the visual language of photography.

With the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, founder Josephine Herrick left her portrait studio on 63rd Street and organized 35 photographers to set up photo booths at NYC canteens where young men going to war gathered. Like an early Facebook or Instagram, these photos were sent with a note to hometowns across the country in an effort to keep families connected. Herrick next organized volunteer photographers to teach programs to wounded soldiers in VA hospitals. This eventually spread to thirty states, and included, children, youth and adults.

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Making Photos is Making History

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.