In today’s post, discover the story behind our founding sponsor PHOTAVIA — and understand co-creator Joe Hausch’s vision for its audience.
“Photographs provoke memories, and everybody brings a different memory to the table.”Joe Hausch, President and CEO of PHOTAVIA
PHOTAVIA was developed to enhance artwork, honor history, and invite personal engagement among audiences of all ages. Created with images provided by The LIFE Picture Collection, this therapeutic tool invites viewers to connect to iconic photographs as they’re presented two-minute “snapshots” called V-Clips© with auditory text and original background music. The goal? Spark memories, start conversations, and reminisce about these moments in American — and personal — history.
From joining a garage band in his younger years to becoming an inventor and entrepreneur, Hausch has long witnessed the positive effects of history and art in a person’s life. And several years ago, when his path crossed with Bill Appleby’s — Appleby was the VP Gallery owner and curator of The LIFE Picture Collection in Milwaukee and, ultimately, the founder of PHOTAVIA — he embarked on a new adventure in creative learning.
After their encounter, Hausch was intrigued by a story Appleby shared: during its off-peak hours, the gallery was open to educational outings for local senior living communities. During one of the senior living visits, Appleby heard a reactive commotion coming from a group of seniors. As he investigated, staff members were astonished to find a particular resident — who had been nonverbal for years — began to verbally communicate as the result of an image she viewed.
Hausch recalls Appleby’s emotions as he recounts this story, which really was the catalyst to advance this art form for people of all ages — from older adults to children, caregivers to care receivers — and foster a beautiful generational connection through photo imagery. “My purpose in life has always been to create,” says Hausch.
On all our screens — tablets, TVs, and more — we’re constantly bombarded with the worries of this world. Besides the intense 24/7 news cycle, today’s programming is often filled with violence, trauma, and negativity, stirring unrest in its viewers almost subconsciously.
But with over 660,000 images in the library, PHOTAVIA’s slower-paced short movies intentionally provide an outlet for safe, stress-free viewing. Photographs gently transition on and off the digital screen, inviting the viewer to become part of the captured moment in time. All movies display the photographer’s name and conclude with a reflective quotation related to the subject matter — providing an overall educational and thought-provoking experience.
These powerful images often evoke more emotions than what is seen at face value. Perhaps the most interesting impact Hausch has witnessed is among viewers living with cognitive impairments. As they often experience anxious episodes, challenging behaviors, and communication deficits, PHOTAVIA has been a bridge to encourage healing, enhance quality experiences, and foster a connection of cherished moments between caregivers and loved ones. That’s why this form of art therapy has already demonstrated positive relief for individuals residing in senior living facilities and memory support units, or for home-based caregivers of persons with dementia.
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PHOTAVIA presents G-rated movies to engage, educate, and create experiences between caregivers and their loved ones, whose benefits are endless and continue to be explored.