Rehabilitation Through Photography in Need of Cameras

Final Month of Organization’s Summer Camera Drive

Rehabilitation Through Photography (RTP) is in the “final month” of their 2010 Summer Camera Drive; needing 75 more cameras donated to the organization by September 1, to be able to equip current RTP programs.

Rehabilitation Through Photography has been providing photography instruction and programs to the physically and emotionally handicapped, the elderly, at-risk youth, the economically disadvantaged, the homeless, and visually impaired for almost 70 years. RTP partners with public and private organizations throughout the NY metropolitan area to create these programs, procure equipment and supplies, and train instructors. RTP’s programs have taught photography to thousands of students over the years. Both film photography and darkroom printing, as well as digital cameras and imaging software have been taught.

RTP started and helps run 25 programs using photography as a unique form of therapy with 55 classes a week, 695 participants, ages 8 to 80 with a total of 30,000 hours of instruction each year. Some of the organizations supported by RTP include: Arts & Media Preparatory Academy, Children’s Village, Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, Land Gallery, Lower East Side Girls Club, Menorah Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, Phyllis L. Susser School for Exceptional Children, among others.

From the analog cameras and darkrooms of the past to digital cameras and imaging software used today, RTP’s programs have taught many thousands of students in need, giving them the opportunity to create inspiring works of beauty. This photography instruction engages individuals with the wider world beyond their limitations and empowers them to see and act in creative and life-affirming ways. The acts of capturing the beauty and vitality of the world with a camera and of then enhancing the resulting images, rekindle individuals’ interest in and excitement about life.

RTP History

Rehabilitation Through Photography was founded as Volunteer Service Photographers in 1941 by NY-based photographer and teacher, Josephine Herrick. She took pictures of servicemen before they shipped out to war and she mailed a print and a personal note to their families. Later, as the wounded returned home for long hospital stays, Herrick was invited into service hospitals by rehabilitation pioneer Dr. Howard Rusk to teach photography as a unique form of therapy.

Volunteer Service Photographers (VSP) programs and volunteers used portable darkrooms that were designed to enable veterans to develop and print photographs from their wheelchairs and beds. Photography sped the healing process, easing the pain of mind and body.

In 1982, Volunteer Service Photographers was renamed Rehabilitation Through Photography (RTP).

Summer Camera Drive

Rehabilitation Through Photography’s ‘Regenerate & Reinvigorate’ program is accepting donations of new and used cameras, both film and digital. RTP asks that donated cameras be in working condition. The organization can use all types of cameras, from film and digital Point & Shoot models to SLRs and DSLRs.

“The Summer Camera Drive is an integral part of our program,” stated Jane Becker, Executive Director, RTP. “The equipment we receive in the next 30 days will make a world of difference in the lives of our program participants. Some participants have used photography not only to enrich their lives, but also as a stepping stone to further education or to a career in photography. Your donation is urgently needed and, we gladly accept cash donations as well,” she added.

Cameras can be shipped directly to: RTP, 3 East 33rd Street, Suite 101, New York, NY 10016. Include any accessories that came with the camera(s) such as cables, battery chargers, straps, and instruction booklets. Donations of media cards, lenses, camera bags, tripods, batteries and film are also welcome.

Rehabilitation Through Photography is a registered 501c3 charitable organization, so all donations are tax deductible. For more information, go to the website www.rtphoto.org.

— Diane Berkenfeld

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