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Here and Now

Published: September 7th, 2016

Category: Featured

CharlotteKeslPhotography_Veterans_015-XL©2016 Charlotte Kesl Photography

Here and Now: Through a Veteran’s Lens

On Display August 5-October 23, 2016 at Chandler Auditorium, Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida

Here and Now: Though a Veteran’s Lens was a photography initiative for local Veterans.  The project was a collaborative effort between the Arts in Medicine Programs at the University of Florida, Malcom Randall VA Medical Center, Harn Museum of Art at UF and three local professional photographers.  A total of 14 Veterans explored how photography can be used as a medium to look at and interpret one’s experience. These Veterans were selected based on their involvement with ongoing arts-based programs facilitated by the project collaborators. The Veterans met once a month for six months to learn basic photography skills and create their own photographic responses. Some of the techniques that were explored include portraiture, documentary photography and nature photography. Many of the Veterans did not have access to cameras or smart phones, but were able to use tablets loaned from a local Veterans’ program. This created the additional experience of learning to navigate new technologies. The resulting images are exploratory, lending themselves to the smaller sized presentation.  Each Veteran selected three images for their display. Two additional photographers, one a program facilitator and one a Veteran, are highlighted in this exhibition. Their works capture the project and also provide additional examples of how the processes learned can be explored by more experienced photographers.

This display has been planned to coincide with the exhibition Aftermath: The Fallout of War, now on view at the Harn. Veterans viewed and discussed images from this exhibition as part of the project.

This project was made possible through support from the Satchel’s Giving Program.

Project Collaborators:

Patricia Goodrich– Patricia developed an interest in photography at the age of 9.  This childhood interest developed into a life-long passion. Millions upon millions of photographs later, of weddings, births, portraits of families and individuals, friends celebrating the joys they share, and many other tender moments of life and the heart, the passion for preserving those precious moments, as seen through the lens, endures.  She finds sharing images with others that bring a smile, or a tender recollection, is a particular joy. This Veteran’s project brought opportunity to witness a lovely, diverse group of men and women engaged in the process of learning and discovering the joy of seeing and capturing some of their own shining moments.

Charlotte Kesl– Charlotte is a documentary photographer who has worked for humanitarian organizations in East Africa, West Africa and South America since 2008. Her work in post-conflict countries focuses on public health, girl education and women’s issues. She helped launch Project Cordillera, a sustainable adventure tourism company in Peru in 2014 and is an instructor for international photography workshops for Momenta Workshops. She does freelance photo work and offers documentary family photo sessions in Gainesville and throughout the United States. For more information, please visit: www.charlottekesl.com

Rick Morehead– Rick is a professional photographer who works out of Gainesville.   His favorite subjects to shoot are old oak trees and mossy areas.  He also works with theme subjects in black and white, like old country churches and old railroad areas.  He’s currently shooting lots of hay bales found in the country, and loves to shoot animals and people.  He has been working with Veterans on camera composition and formatting for country landscapes.

Susan Lake-Rawson– Susan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with VA Mental Health Intensive Case Management (MHICM) program.   MHICM is an outpatient mental health program that provides supportive services to Veterans who have a primary mental health diagnosis. A team of health care professionals work together in partnership with Veterans to create individualized recovery plans that focus on Veteran’s goals and strengths.  Susan spearheaded and facilitates MHICM Veterans involvement in Art in the Gardens at UF Wilmot Gardens.

Heather Spooner– Heather is an assistant scholar with the UF Center for Arts in Medicine and a Board Certified Art Therapist at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center. She facilitates the Rural Veterans’ Telerehabilitation Initiative Creative Arts Therapy program, which provides telehealth-based creative arts therapy to Veterans throughout North Florida and South Georgia.

Kris Sullivan – Kris is the Program Coordinator for the UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine clinical program.  She additionally hosts art workshops for Veterans called Art in the Gardens, a visual arts series focusing on the natural world, at the UF Wilmot Gardens.