Sometimes I get a bit frustrated when I don’t post here as soon as I have some interesting (to me) photographs. / We were up in Maine for Thanksgiving at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. They live near to Higgins Beach in Scarborough, ME and on Thursday the ocean was really kickin’. I went for three separate walks to the beach the next day and each one was interesting in its own way. The surf was up (especially by East Coast standards) and at one point there were at least 40 surfers out.
On the morning walk I noticed that tons of sea creatures were washed way up on the beach, including this guy. Very alive and, I hope, happy to be put back into the ocean. Would have made a nice little lunch though.
On our way home on Saturday, I finally stopped to take a shot of this structure on Route 1 in Scarborough. I liked the light, and it is nice to see how helpful the owners are in identifying just what this thing is.
Further (farther?) down Route 1 is Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery and since Peter was with us it seemed a nice time to stop in for a bite. As usual, amazing fried clams.
Next stop was in Boston for our annual walk around the outside of Fenway Park. So sweet to have the 2013 World Series banner hanging.
And I have always liked this statue, especially Dom DiMaggio’s specs. / We ended the Boston leg of the trip with a stop at the Blue Ribbon. For Peter, this day was a triple play; clams, Fenway, and Blue Ribbon. He was a very happy boy.
And finally, there is this. Image-wise it is kind of an orphan here, but I love the floating cone in the middle. I spotted this on a walk with Pete yesterday afternoon. / I take him to the train in New Haven tomorrow, and as usual, it will be difficult to say goodbye. Cris and I have had so much fun being with him for the past few weeks.
Peter took the train up from DC yesterday and I drove to New Haven to meet him. He arrived at about 3.30 and the light was beautiful. / England were playing Germany in a friendly and we found a great pub in the downtown called Christy’s and were able to watch the second half of the match (England 0- Germany 1). Great place.
Craig Williams sent me a link to an article that ran in the Trumansburg, NY weekly paper, and I wanted to pass it along. It is a very well thought out editorial on the potential closing of two Southern Tier psych centers (Willard is also mentioned). Here is the link. I thought of the above photo when the writer spoke about how the alternative to folks getting help in psych centers is to house them in prisons. The above photo is from a project I did in the 1980s photographing early 20th Century New York State prisons. This particular shot was taken in the Elmira Correctional Facility which would undoubtedly end up hosting some of the very people who would not be able to get treatment in the psych centers that are meant to close. I accept that it is all very complicated, but some logical planning on the State’s part should be encouraged.
On a somewhat connected note, yesterday I photographed a very moving interfaith service at the South Church in Springfield called “Creating a Peace-Full City”. There has been an awful spate of gun-related violence in Springfield this year, and many have come together to see if something positive could be done about it. I had never been in this church before and it is stunning.
It has been quite a while since I have posted a suitcases update. There is a lot going on, and I finally have a bit of a breather. I have been shooting at least one day a week in Rotterdam, and some weeks I have managed two full days.
On Tuesday, Peter Carroll came out from Ithaca and we shot video for the upcoming Kickstarter 2 appeal. It will be several weeks before it is even close to be up and running (pending Kickstarter approval), but I have been thinking a great deal about how to go about the whole thing.
I have a natural aversion to asking for financial support for my independent projects, and it is a bit of a struggle for me to think about how to begin this process all over again. After the shoot, I was talking to my son Peter, and he had some great words of encouragement, especially the idea that I would never be asking for a second round of support if the first one wasn’t so successful in getting folks interested in the suitcases.
And what really keeps me going is that in doing this work, I have helped to create and incredible community of people who are invested in the completion of the project.
Peg Ross and I have been so productive in the last two months. We have a system set up that allows us to be super efficient. In one two day period alone we managed to shoot almost 30 cases. Most of these were partially to completely empty, but I have come to feel that it is just as important to document these suitcase as the ones that are full.
These license plates are a good example. Along with the paper tag, these were the only objects in Robert Y’s case. Amazing.
Stuert B’s case was filled with these bathroom products. This is the second container of Dr. Lyon’s Tooth Powder we have come across.
I love the Mennen logo on the top of the talcum container. Beautiful.
I have also been able to upload a few more suitcases to “The Cases” section of willardsuitcases.com. Check it out if you get the chance and please stay in touch. It means so much to me to get feedback.
I was at Yale today talking about the suitcases to Jessica Helfand’s freshman seminar class on visual biography. She was one of the first people to connect with the project and has been a huge supporter from the get-go. This is the third year I have spoken to the class and it always helpful to get feedback from the students on my work with the cases. / After the class I usually head over to the School of Medicine Library and visit The Cushing Center. It is one of the most amazing displays of someone’s life one can ever see. I have posted about it here and here, and if any of you are in New Haven, it is absolutely not to be missed. / Thanks to Jessica and her students for a great day.
I used to shoot a lot of rowing. I started in Ithaca while shooting sports for Cornell and Ithaca College. And for many years I shot the annual Harvard/Yale Regatta on the Thames River in New London, CT. I have such a great respect for these athletes and their dedication to training and competing. This morning I was up way before first light to shoot some of the UMASS rowers as they were preparing for a competition this weekend.
Here is a shot of the coxswain in a 4+. It was barely light when I shot this and when we left the dock it was 39 degrees.
These women are on the water 6 days a week way before most people are out of bed. Title IX is the greatest!
Big thanks to Megan McHugh for piloting me around the Connecticut River. She was really nice and it was so great to have an opportunity to be on the water again.
The New York State Museum did an amazing job conserving and cataloguing the suitcase collection. Three staffers did most of the work. Sarah Jastremsky, Christine Allen, and Kara Chambers worked for months on the project, and they each had their own style of wrapping. I have never been able to tell who did which case, but they all did an amazing job. This particular case represents one of those distinctive styles. / Peg and I always try very hard to return the suitcases to their original condition once we are done shooting.
And it is she who does most the work in this regard. Here is the result of rewrapping Leo R’s case; very close to the original and equally effective. She looks very proud and happy in this picture, as well she should. / From time to time I mention Peg in these posts and it bears saying again that I would have a very hard time doing this work without her help. She deserves a lot of the credit for what you see here and on willardsuitcases.com and I am so grateful that she is a partner on the project.
Leo’s case was one of many leather grips that we have photographed. There wasn’t much in it, but what was there was great. You can see by the label that he was admitted on 25 June, 1954.
I have never seen a Vaseline tube in this color. I wish they would have kept using it, as it is a shade of green that knocks me out.
I have been adding more cases to the suitcases site. Eleanor G’s just went up, which one of the larger collections of photographs. I’ll have more posted by the end of the week, just click on “The Cases” at the top of the page. Thanks for checking it out.
Cris and I drove into Boston last night for the World Education annual dinner. She had the board meeting today so I got the chance to wander around Boston. It was a beautiful Autumn day and there was a nice relaxed vibe about town. The Red Line was shut down between Park and Kendall so the T was running buses between the two stations.
There was fresh air coming into the crowded bus through the emergency exit. / Sometimes I don’t know why I take certain photographs. And then I don’t know why I post them here. But I end up shooting a lot of public transport images like the one on top, and I like the graphic nature of the emergency exit shot.
I received my preview copy of the latest Poets & Writers in the mail today. They chose a really nice photo of Andre Dubus III for the article ↓. There is no online link to the story yet, but they will probably put one up once the magazine has been on the newsstands for a while. Check it out!