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Josephine Herrick’s Letter to Eastman Kodak Company, 1959

(Above, WWII soldiers at a VA hospital participating in JHP’s, photography services, hand coloring their photographs from hospital beds)

The beginnings of the Josephine Herrick Project, as you know, started with Josephine Herrick’s founding of VSP, or Volunteer Service Photographers.

In 1959, Josephine wrote to Eastman Kodak to petition to hang photographs of student work at the Eastman Information Bureau in Grand Central Station. The photographs she wished to have displayed were hand oil-colored by students of VSP because they were originally shot in black and white. Many times students would paint from their hospital beds, as well as many other unconventional situations. This way, participants were able to create and keep busy while confined under less than ideal circumstances.

Today, Josephine Herrick Project, formerly VSP, follows that same philosophy of bringing equipment and material directly to the student’s environment, whether a hospital, school, community center or housing shelter.

Below is the actual letter. Click to enlarge.

JHP and Brooklyn’s Block Institute: Developmentally Disabled Students Learn Self-Expression Through Photography

The Block Institute, based in Brooklyn, New York, was founded in 1961 by Rabbi Block who decided to work with mentally challenged adults who had been denied the right to attend bar mitzvah classes. Since then, the Institute has established a health clinic as well as several programs for both adults and children. While receiving the care they deserve from the Block Institute, the Josephine Herrick Project (formerly Rehabilitation Through Photography) began a complementary program to help these people tap into their creativity through photography. By providing photo gear and professional photographers to teach classes, the Josephine Herrick Project helped to free the Block Institute attendees from the social stigma of “developmentally challenged” and discover their inner talent. These photography programs became a huge success in more ways than one: not only did the students learn to creatively express themselves, but it gave their therapists and teachers extraordinary insight into how their patients and students view the world around them. This moving short film provides a closer look at what the Josephine Herrick Project has done in conjunction with the Block Institute. We look forward to creating many more successful programs like this one at the Block Institute so we may better understand the world around us through the artistic vision of everyone!

“Downtown Manhattan,” Featured On Popular “Humans of New York” Blog

Twenty-year-old Akeem Bonaparte just completed a Blurb book, Downtown Manhattan, a combination of writing and photographs. When Brandon Stanton, Founder of Humans of New York, was introduced to Akeem at a JHProject gallery opening last week, he went wild over Akeem’s fresh, poetic writing. His verbal descriptions invite the reader to look at an image again and again to discover his sense of shape, texture and personal reference in his photographs. Akeem’s artistic sensibility is changing our vision of the world!

Akeem studies photography through the JHProject at the Birch Family Services, an organization that provides special schools to individuals with autism, and also currently interns at the JHProject office. He says that photography has helped him to “socialize,” and has taught him the joy of being part of a community. Read the public’s comments about Akeem’s book on the Humans of New York blog. Click here to preview and order your copy of Downtown Manhattan.

Portraits of Courage Exhibit Opens at St. Francis College

Last night’s Portraits of Courage exhibit, featuring photographs by veterans from the Vietnam, Korean, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, opened at St. Francis College. The show is a mix of portrait and still lives, with writing both somber and poignant. 19 men and one woman depict wars that have stuck with them physically and mentally, a weight to every moment and thought. And yet, that they shared these personal feelings with the crowd of strangers who were interested and cared, brought them a measure of honor and comfort.