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Then & Now: JHP Celebrates Evolution

More specifically, we are celebrating the evolution of our beloved organization. In 1941, Josephine Herrick founded Volunteer Service Photography (VSP), an organization that sent photographers into VA Hospitals to work with the wounded warriors of World War II. Offering the camera as a tool for holistic healing and recognition of the whole person, VSP evolved and expanded to reach other populations who faced challenges, like children with physical disabilities.

In March 1983, VSP became Rehabilitation Through Photography (RTP), which had been the VSP tagline for 42 years. Renamed Josephine Herrick Project (JHP) in 2013, we continue this legacy of strengthening individual voice, self-confidence and community engagement through participation in our programs and internships.

Like the evolution of the camera or even the evolution of our understanding of the human condition, our organization has evolved in our mission to make art accessible and uplifting for all. As we enter our 75th year of enhancing lives through photography, JHP is proud to celebrate our long lasting legacy and our growth in supporters, volunteers and individuals served.


Program Spotlight: Brain Injury Survivors

Josephine Herrick Project and the Brain Injury Association of NY State, NYC Chapter are partnering for a second time to offer weekly photography classes to adults living with brain injury.

The current program is focusing on storytelling and “The Art of Life.” People living with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) often suffer from physical and cognitive shifts like weakened vision, difficulty in communicating thoughts and/or difficulty with spatial or facial recognition. Working with the camera allows students to navigate their perceptions of and communicate to the world around them. “The Art of Life” simply speaks to the consistent beauty that exists around us and our individual understanding and connections to that beauty that are captured by the camera.

JHP volunteer instructors Maggie C. and Virginia A. are working alongside NYC Chapter President, Mauricio B., who has also returned as a program participant. The group has engaged photography on a larger scale and taken city based excursions to Bryant Park and to the NYPL current photography exhibit, Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography. Classroom space is donated by Rusk Rehabilitation Center Currently, at least 5.3 million Americans live with disabilities caused by TBI and JHP is honored to support NYC based individuals through visual literacy and creative storytelling.

JHP Honors Veteran Sheridan Dean

As a volunteer organization serving veterans for nearly seventy-five years, I wanted to report on something dear to JHP for Veterans Day so I picked up the phone and called Sheridan Dean. One of our goals is to train veterans to teach our veteran programs. Sheridan, after taking two programs at the Brooklyn VA taught by Camille Tokerud, assisted her in teaching a program at the Genesis House in Brooklyn, and now he is co-teaching with Linda Kessler at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights. He said “what is rewarding is that there are always a couple of veterans in each class who, like me, get hooked on photography.”

During his military service, Sheridan attended aviation school and worked on aircraft structural repair. Returning home to Brooklyn, he had a career with the telephone company. Now, in retirement, he is happy to document events like yesterday’s at Brooklyn Borough Hall: Eric Adams, Borough President, and Commissioner of Veteran Affairs, Loree Sutton, MD, Brigadier General US Army Ret. spoke about housing and jobs for veterans. The transit Authority and the NYC Police Department are both hiring, but Sheridan said he is happy in retirement, teaching JHP programs and doing photography. His goal is to make each photograph museum quality.

JHP honored the Commissioner on October 19th at our annual benefit auction. She is such a fabulous speaker; our guests were ready to enlist! Sheridan said that he is proud of her as a veteran, especially her energy and her positivity. She has made great strides in eradicating veteran homelessness in NYC and in creating jobs for veterans. When I asked what else she could do to help NYC veterans, Sheridan liked the idea of a Museum for veteran’s art.

Last Veteran’s Day, Sheridan and I and a few others spoke about the JHP programs to veterans at St. Francis College. When I asked about his Veteran’s Day agenda for this year, he said he’d be at the Brooklyn Mall: Applebee’s, Red Lobster and Olive Garden providing free dining for Veterans. He also has a dinner to attend on Long Island, hosted by the Knights of Columbus.

– Maureen McNeil, Executive Director

Photograph by: Sheridan Dean

Photograph by: Sheridan Dean

Photograph by: Sheridan Dean

Top Photograph by: Camille Tokerud

JHP Celebrates: Veterans on Veteran’s Day

Josephine Herrick Project is thinking of our veterans on Veteran’s Day. Thank you for your service all over the world. Thank you to our veterans who serve as teaching artists by volunteering their free time and continuing to serve our country and those in need.

Our veteran photographers lead photography classes throughout the year where they can focus on positive thinking, community building.

Josephine Herrick Project honors veterans today and everyday through our work in VA hospitals and Vet Centers.

Photograph by: Israel Smith, Veteran, Services for the Underserved

Top Photograph by: Anna Swanson, Veteran, Bronx VA