I couldn’t count the number of times that I have been on Interstate 90 in New York State. About 2 years ago, I started noticing this view from the Westbound lane just before the turnoff to Albany. There was something about the look of this rural road that always made me happy. About a year ago I knew that I wanted to photograph it, but stopping on the highway seemed a bit foolhardy. On Tuesday I was at the museum shooting suitcases and realized that I would have time to take a side trip on the way home. I have a New York State Atlas & Gazeteer in my car so I pulled it out an figured out where I could access this road. I am quite directionally challenged, but after some trial and error, I found the spot. The above view is taken from the bottom of Hanley Road where it forms a T with State Route 32. From where I took this picture it is Columbia County, but up the hill it becomes Rensselaer County. Coming from Albany, I went to the town of Nassau on Route 20, turned south on 203 and then left onto Hanley. It is really beautiful on the top part of the road; lovely farms with sizable ponds.
This view is looking West on SR 32. The semi is on the eastbound section of the 90. As I was heading home, I drove through the small town of Chatham and was happy to see a church that I had photographed for Craig Williams years ago.
Here’s another shot from Grand Central. I was a bit disorientated because I have been up on this balcony on the East side of the station many times. It always used to be just an open space with people milling around and taking pictures just like this one. It is an Apple Store now. As soon as you walk up the stairs, there is a greeter asking if you need help. Things change, I guess. A very long time ago Kodak used most of the wall behind me for a giant Kodachrome image. Now Kodak is bankrupt and Apple is in charge. Interesting.
Sorry, it’s been a while. / I took the Metro North train from New Haven to New York on Friday. I could have taken Amtrak from Springfield, but it goes into Penn Station and I prefer Grand Central. I arranged to arrive with time to spare, so I had some Cotuits and a pan roast at the Oyster Bar. / Just after my Kickstarter page went up, Zoe Crossland from Columbia University contacted me about coming down to give a seminar on the Willard suitcases project. She connected me with Brian Boyd who set it all up, and at 5.30 I was sitting in a room with a great group of faculty and students from the anthropology and archeology departments. I was hoping for lots of feedback and dialogue and wasn’t disappointed. I showed selected photos from what I have done so far and we had a great discussion. / Had a very productive day at the museum last Thursday and will be back shooting in the next few days.
I was in Poughkeepsie on Tuesday photographing at the recently closed Hudson River Psychiatric Center. I have been there many times and it was a bit sad to know that the facility was closing. / When I was shooting shuttered asylum buildings for my earlier projects, they were all from the 19th century. Those buildings and their contents came from such a markedly different time which was part of the reason it was such compelling work for me. When I was thinking about my photographs from Tuesday I realized that in the future, someone will look at this photo and have the same feeling. To our eyes, this isn’t such an unusual scene; fifty from now it will seem truly exotic.
This is Eleanor G’s large trunk. It is one of the few cases in the collection that is unwrapped. I have posted some of her other cases before. I have edited the photos in this post quite tightly; there are well over 20 that I will eventually use, but due to time and space limitations, I’ll show just a few.
This is a classic footlocker design with a removable top shelf.
I think she used this calendar notebook as a Christmas or birthday book. You can read what seems like a list presents she either gave or wanted to give to people.
Eleanor sewed a lot. Here is a section of a pattern.
Above is some of the wrapping of the items in the bottom of the case.
These two movie ticket stubs were the only things in this little red clutch purse.
I like the design of this little vanity. The use of the stars is especially tasteful.
The little lavender fabric button below the pills is such a lovely color. These items were inside the vanity.
This is a closeup of a huge roll of wrapping paper that really got to me. I so wanted to take the outer seal off to look at a whole sheet, but it was taped on and I was worried about ruining it.
The bottom of the trunk was full of letters to Eleanor. She clearly had saved these from her life outside of Willard. At first I thought the address on the bottom right envelope said “White House”, but as I enlarged the writing, it looked more like “White Home”. I’m not sure if it was a residential facility or just an apartment house. (Early on in this project, an interesting fellow from somewhere out west was researching some of the materials and came up with some really cool historical links. Tom, if you are still following, I’d love to hear from you.)
I plan to be back at the museum on Thursday to shoot more cases. An tomorrow I will be at the recently closed Hudson River Psychiatric Center shooting some interiors. Thanks for following this project.