There was a very nice mention of the suitcases project on PetaPixel yesterday. Thanks DL Cade!
Cristine, our friend Kate, and I drove to Salem today to see the J M W Turner exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum. It is amazing and worth the trip. No photos allowed in the gallery, but it is a very cool museum. Note the early Airstream trailer (lower right) that is part of the mid century LA exhibit.
The upcoming 10 days are going to be very hectic for me, so please be patient if I don’t respond directly to email. I’ll do my best.
I just spent the past four days shooting a project at the Pingry School in New Jersey. The days were very full, the work was great and since it was with my friends at the Herson Group, we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. / I have been photographing Peter Carroll jumping almost as long as I have known him (which is a very long time). And while I was living in Ithaca, I spent a lot of time photographing portable toilets, and had a very one sided postcard correspondence with The Portable Sanitation Association. These toilets were on the high end of comfort and I believe they were even air conditioned.
The spring is much further (farther?) along in New Jersey than it is in Massachusetts, and these dogwood blossoms were at their peak. Ours don’t even have leaves yet.
As I was driving through Springfield, the sky got really interesting and I pulled into a scenic area on the 91 to check out this beautiful rainbow. Not a great shot, but a lot of cars had stopped to watch it and there was a nice little collection of people taking in the scene. / Enjoy the weekend everyone.
I have always liked driving people to airports, train stations, and bus stations. I make it clear to friends that if my schedule allows, I am in. One of Cristine’s students is (was) Sebastian Lindstrom. He is leaving Amherst for good and we will miss him. It is always bittersweet to get to know the students, as we know they will eventually be gone. He is already doing interesting work with his organization What Took You So Long. Here he is standing in front of the MegaBus. Gone but not forgotten. Safe travels Sebastian.
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.
After I posted the shots of the capitol building yesterday, I found myself thinking about previous visits to the same location. I took the above picture sometime in 1985 (when this Studebaker Lark was already over 20 years old). It was this photo that popped into my mind as I was taking yesterday’s shot.
I took the above photograph on 19th January, 1985 the night before Reagan’s second inauguration. Stacy Dabney (and I am not sure of the exact spelling) was living under these very same steps. My friend Brad Edmondson and I were walking around the building the night before the ceremony and we were surprised to see this gentleman living there. He was happy to talk to us about his situation. He was a veteran and felt he was getting screwed by the VA. The Capitol Police didn’t bother him much, but Stacy was pretty sure they would kick him out by the next day. They did. I remember thinking at the time that this was a HUGE story that no one was covering. A homeless guy living under the capitol building.
Brad and I were back in DC that April working on a story about congressman Matt McHugh (D-NY 1975-1993). We went back to the capitol steps and sure enough Stacy was still in residence. We caught him late at night just as he was turning in. It still seems amazing that not only was he living there, but the police never really hassled him. This shot was taken on 24 April, 1985 and it was the last time I saw him. Do any of you out there remember meeting him or reading about him? I did a search for his name and nothing came up. (UPDATE. Thanks to reader DotRot for letting me know his real name.; Stacy Abner. Here is a link to an article that explains the situation. Still an amazing story.)
I really like this photo of Brad, taken that same evening just after we left Stacy.
My good bud Tom Schack just got the first pressing of his band Outerstylie’s new CD. He was kind enough to give me a copy (#2) which he is holding in his hand. He was totally stoked to finally have it. I’m listening to it now and it sounds great. Here he is at his “day job”.
Last Saturday I posted pictures from the Amherst Farmers’ Market. On Thursday I got an email from Casey at Old Friends Farm asking if he could use some of the photos in the farm’s weekly newsletter. I was more than happy to oblige and went into heavy negotiation mode. Pictures for flowers; quite a good deal for us both.
Earlier in the week I went to watch Cris teach an undergrad class in one of the UMASS School of Ed. buildings. The class meets in a now-closed elementary school auditorium. Down a hallway and behind a set of doors with a “NO ENTRY” sign was this school gymnasium. I can remember being a kid at the East End School in Meadville and being in a similar gym (they all look pretty much alike). I especially like the climbing ropes and the cargo net.
Today we drove to Williamstown to meet up with Peggy Ross, her husband Peter, and their friend Pierette who is visiting from France. We met at the Williams College Museum of Art and then walked into town for a beer. It is a lovely small New England town with 2 great museums (the other being the Clark, which is a gem).
Driving back along Route 2, I was compelled to stop and grab a few shots of the Deerfield River.
I hope to have the willardsuitcases.com site up and running tomorrow. I am so excited and will post an update as soon as it is online.
I am going to break a few of my self-imposed rules in this post. I have always assumed that the reason people come to this site was to see interesting aspects of the world that they might not otherwise notice. I have never wanted it to be about me. But this post is mostly personal.
Peter Carroll and I have been working on a project on Tilghman Island for the past several years. In conjunction with the Tilghman Island Waterman’s Museum, we have been documenting the life of the watermen for two films that Peter has been shooting. The second of those films had its premier on Saturday evening at the elementary school. The auditorium was full and everyone loved it.
Then on Sunday Cristine and I flew to New Orleans where she was to receive an award from the Commission on Adult Basic Education. We walked around the city most of the day yesterday and it was as amazing to me as everyone said it would be.
Cris got the Kenneth J. Mattran Award for “Promoting Literacy Nationally and Internationally”. I was so proud and it was great to see people come up to her and thank her for being so inspirational.
After the luncheon we bugged out and walked back to the French Quarter. I would love to have seen this neon sign lit up, but The Pearl was closed today. Next stop was Cafe´du Monde for beignets and coffee. Later as we were walking down an almost totally deserted RiverWalk, we saw a video crew doing a stand up shot of a guy with the river in the background. It turned out to be Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel.
So here’s where I really break my self-imposed rule (don’t ever have a picture of me in this blog). My great friend Tania Werbizky has at various times in her life been totally obsessed with the Weather Channel. After Jim was done with his work, I approached him and asked if I could take a photograph. He was so nice and immediately suggested that he and I be in the shot. So Tania, I mentioned you to Jim effing Cantore. How’s about that?
Our hotel is just next to the Superdome and this is the view from the 17th floor hallway. / It is impossible to walk around this city and not think of hurricane Katrina and the devastation it caused. And looking at this building that housed so many people in such great need is more than a bit unsettling. This is an amazing part of America and I feel fortunate to have finally made it down here.
A bit of “karma congestion” lately. So as a default I feel like doing a Pearl post. We never let her up on the furniture until about a year ago, but now she seems to have claimed the center section of this sofa. It is really nice to have the wood stove going with her asleep next to you.
Cris was putting some wrapped presents under the tree yesterday, and Pearl went right to this “Mega P’nut” dog treat. She got an early gift.
Peter is home from DC and he and I took her for a walk today. I know I have posted a similar photo, but for some reason this still gets to me. She wants to carry her leash everywhere.
This past year has been monumental in many ways, and next year could be equally interesting. My very best wishes to all of you who follow this blog. I’ll get back to some serious stuff soon, but in the meantime, ’tis the season to be thinking about friends and family and have lots of love in your hearts.
A bit of a melange here.
I have always liked fountain pens (something I share with my dear friend John Wilson). And ink bottles are a big part of why I like them. I think I bought this bottle in Berlin when I lived there.
Cris and I went to the Amherst Farmer’s Market this morning. Lots of root veg. And something I had never seen before except in a bottle.
We then went up to Blue Dog Leather in Orange where Keith is making a one handed belt for Peter. Got to hang out with his donkeys and his two American Bashkir horses. They grow this coat in the winter and shed most of it in springtime. They are such beautiful animals.
Thanks again Alex. I love the camera.