As I look out my office window, I see the blue, yellow and red shipping containers of Photoville!
We will load in on Wednesday, September 9th and are very excited to introduce Josephine Herrick Project to a brand new audience. We will showcase photographs by participants in 2015 programs as well as highlight work from the high school students of the Step Up program at McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at NYU. Our volunteer teaching photographers have also submitted work to exhibit and we are introducing our organization’s founder, Josephine Herrick (1897- 1972), photographer and social activist.
Plenty to see, so we hope to see you at Photoville!
Photoville is held at Brooklyn Bridge Park and will be open to the public September 10-13 and September 17-20.
Tuesday evening, July 28, the JHP community relaxed on a beautiful roof deck on the Lower East Side, thanks to the generosity of Bradley and Elana Hart. We call it the annual BBQ because of the summer appeal, but for two years now have served delicious Mexican food from Dos Toros along with beer or a bright and bubbly Prosecco. A nice blowing breeze and the gorgeous East River and New York City sunset views turned a hot night into a cool event. It was a fantastic way to connect and say thank you to all the very special people who teach our programs, help us with videography, participate on committees, and serve on our board. And to those who could not attend, we couldn’t succeed without you!
JHP board members and photographers chat.
JHP photographer Vik and former participant and current Advisory Board member Akeem.
Board member Matt snaps shots of volunteer photographer Romina and guest.
JHP Executive Director Maureen and Program Coordinator Afiya chat with guests while Matt snaps the photographer Sheridan and the beautiful LES view.
Josephine Herrick was first known for her work with New York City debutants, but her legacy in photography is also tied to her work with veterans returning home from war in need of healing, holistic healing.
In honor of our water-based warriors of the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, New York City celebrates with its 27th annual Fleet Week. During this week span of time, citizens of NY and the tri-state area are invited to board and tour ships docked in Manhattan and Staten Island for just this purpose. This year, photographers Krista Kennell and Camille Tokerud from the JHP family were invited to capture moments of sailors and supporters as they experienced a small taste of the world our soldiers live within.
Fleet Week began in 1935 and is a tradition that continues to excite major cities. We are honored to have the opportunity to walk a bit in the shoes of our namesake. And though Fleet Week has passed, we continue to honor our soldiers and continue the commitment and legacy of bringing photography programs to veterans.
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.
Today marks the 40th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. We would like to thank all veterans who have served our country. The Josephine Herrick Project was started by Josephine Herrick during World War II. Her concept was to help returning soldiers in hospitals learn photography as a method of helping them recuperate and, in some cases, as a viable career option. Today, the Josephine Herrick Project reaches a myriad of underserved population but Veterans are still a strong segment of who we serve.
Currently we have programs in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and New Jersey. Using Canon Rebel DSLRs, we teach the students to express themselves “through the Power of Photography.” One of the most compelling lesson day occurred when each Veteran was asked to bring an item that was “special to them” to photograph. We’ve seen favorite shirts, cool guitars, mementos from various countries but my favorite was the great photo below of soldiers “dog tags”. This moving photo says it all.
Maybe this photo spurred me to volunteer to be part of the inaugural JHP NJ Veteran program at Unique Photo. We had Veterans of all ages and several Vietnam Veterans and the camaraderie was amazing. Plus, not only were all the students Veterans, but so were the instructors. The great team of volunteer instructors were Harmon Kaplan, Rick Gerrity and Michael Downey. What a wonderful group of guys!
To see more about the Josephine Herrick Project Veteran Program at Unique Photo check out the book we made on blurb. Remember your purchase of this book will help us reach more Veterans and teach them about the “power of photography.”
Josephine Herrick Project has served veterans since 1941 and now veteran Brett Morash, Ph.D. has been elected to its Board of Directors. Dr. Morash is Vice President of Veterans Services at Services for the Underserved and a retired U.S. Naval Officer. His enthusiasm, expertise, and insight will help JHP scale veteran programs to a national level. His valuable military knowledge will also be applied to the thousands of never-before- seen photographs taken over the last seventy-four years in the JHP archives, in an effort to share them with the public.
“This is an exciting opportunity to continue to impact the lives of others in a pragmatic way through the use of photography as the catharsis,” said Dr. Morash.
Services for the Underserved www.sus.org is a New York City based nonprofit and for over 37 years has helped the underserved create pathways to a rich and productive life.
Graduating in 1993 from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Marine Transportation, he serviced in the Arabian Gulf, the Horn of Africa, Mombasa Kenya, and at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York City before retiring in 2013.
Dr. Morash’s military decorations and awards are numerous. He earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Framingham State College in 2000, a doctorate in the Humanities in 2015 from Salve Regina University and is an adjunct professor at Norwich University since 2012, teaching courses on Project Management and Intelligence Operations in the Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis program.
The JHP staff and board are grateful for Dr. Morash’s commitment to the mission of enhancing lives through photography and looking forward to reaching more veterans with our work.
1st Prize Winner Linton B. Salmon for his photograph At Prayer in the Bronx VA Program.
1st Grand Prize Winning Print in 1950 VSP Contest by Linton B. Salmon while a patient at Bronx VA Hospital. Salmon went on to become a medical photographer after his discharge from the hospital.
Josephine Herrick Project was originally known as Volunteer Service Photographers and then Rehabilitation Through Photography. Our organization started in 1941 by helping Veterans communicate through the visual language of photography.
Photo of Maureen McNeil, JHP Executive Director and Brooklyn VA Participant Felicia Foster Photo @RickGerrity
By Maureen McNeil – Memorial Day Weekend 2014
As we celebrate veterans as heroic young people who risked their lives for their country, today of all days, we must also commit to helping the more than 2.9 million disabled veterans from wars over the last seven decades.
In 1944 Josephine Herrick was tapped by Dr. Howard Rusk, father of rehabilitation medicine, to organized programs, equipment and train women to teach the art and technology of photography to wounded WWII soldiers in NYC hospitals. Today, that legacy of photography and service lives on at JHP. It is no secret that helping others makes humans feel good.
Professional photographer Camille Tokerud specializes in lifestyle photography www.camilletokerud.com but over the last two years she has volunteered to teach portrait and still life photography to more than 50 veterans at the Brooklyn VA Hospital. One of her students, Mai Jun Li, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran wrote:
Photo by Mai Jun Li, Brooklyn VA Program Particpant
“My dog tag is important to me. It was there with me witnessing things good and bad.
Taking photos of my ID is making me feel grateful. When I try to remember the past, my dog tag has been on me for years. It means a lot to me. I hold onto it like it’s saving my life.”
The Josephine Herrick Project photography program at the Bronx VA taught by professional photographer Nousha Salimi www.noushasalimi.com has a waiting list.
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Sidney Clark said: “It was a spiritual growth for someone like myself. Nousha treated us with kid gloves.”
Veteran Benjamin Marrero said of the class: “Now when I’m depressed I just go outside and take pictures and it helps me relax.”
Veteran and photographer Scott Nidermaier www.nidermaierpicutres.com teaches an ongoing JHP photography program every Monday afternoon for two years at St. Albans VA in Queens, including the oldest in-patient veterans, and some who are in hospice. Scott said: “Sometimes just the opportunity for my students to pick up a Canon Rebel, hold it in their hands, is a huge accomplishment.”
For wheelchair bound Viet Nam veteran Anthony Sodo, photography has transformed his life. He recently captured an image of a hawk on the hospital grounds. He said: “I have three different cameras now and take pictures for all the Wounded Warrior events. I keep busy. I see a lot more than I would, even looking at the photos I see more than looking at the shot.”
Archival image exhibited at the Soho Photo Gallery in April 2014
In April this year the Josephine Herrick Project exhibited of 26 archival images at Soho Photo Gallery www.sohophoto.com . Viewers witnessed the camera as a transformative tool. Young men in plaster body casts, wheel chairs and legs in traction practiced the new hands-on skill, tried out the makeshift darkroom—a sheet over the bed— and shared the photographs of family, nature and animals with their community of family and friends. Today we continue to witness the same healing power in self-expression. Karen Riedel from Rusk Rehabilitation recently participated in a panel discussion about the healing power of photography along with photojournalists Nina Berman www.ninaberman.com and Ron Haviv www.ronhaviv.com art therapist Beryl Brenner from the Brooklyn VA Hospital, and veteran Sheridan Dean. The event was moderated by editor of Popular Photography and American Photo Miriam Leuchter.
Last year St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights hosted a JHP veteran exhibit. A current veteran portrait exhibit opened at Unique Photo in Fairfield, New Jersey this past week. Requests for veteran programs come in from around the country every week. Commit today to helping veterans in need who live in your community, or make a donation on the Josephine Herrick Project website at www.jhproject.com
Previously unpublished work from the Josephine Herrick Project will be featured at Soho Photo Gallery April 2 to May 3 in New York. The project experimented with photography as a type of art therapy, used as a healing aid to wounded World War II veterans, both physically and psychologically.
“From their hospital beds, young men were given hope, inspiration and photographic skills,” the gallery said of the project. The Josephine Herrick Project is still active more than 70 years after its inception, and “continues to reach communities in-need with free programs combining photography and service.”
Below, a preview of the never-before-seen photographs, taken by Josephine Herrick, the photographers she trained, and wounded veterans during World War II.