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.
I have been driving past this car for quite some time. Today was a good day to stop and take some photos. Torinos were based on the Fairlane platform and as I learned on wikipedia, the name Torino gradually replaced the Fairlane badge. The ones I really remember are the GT versions of which this is a 1969 example. When I first saw these cars, I thought they were quite ugly, but in time they have really grown on me.
This one is mostly covered in primer, but you can note from the pictures that the original color is still evident in some places.
This blue/green is the only color I can recall on this vintage of the GT model. / There are two Ford Torinos in my past. My college roommate Gail had one our Senior year. I am pretty sure it wasn’t a GT, but it could well have been. I remember her coming back to school from Ridgeway, PA where her family lived and telling me that her dad would give her a few extra dollars to put “a tank of Ethyl” in it. And my friend Paul who now lives in Arizona had a really nice GT that he has since sold. He did a lot of work on it himself and in fact one day he drove it out from Boston and tinkered around with it in my driveway.
So, this one is for sale. Paul? Gail?
I was in Ithaca last week for a quick overnight before a shoot at Binghamton University. I met Tim and Brad at the Lincoln Street diner for breakfast and it was so great to see them both. At one point Tim said that he has started reading this blog and was wondering why I haven’t mentioned him (he was only half serious; just busting my balls a bit as friends are wont to do). I think this is Brad’s first mention as well. Both great friends of mine. I am so lucky.
Alex gets a special thanks. I won’t say why, but this photo of moss is all down to him. And I really love moss.
Cris and I are in DC visiting Peter. He is amazing and is doing really well. We took the time for a quick visit to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I can never get enough of it and I always come back to this part of the building which is near the Lunder Conservation Center. If any of you reading this are in the area and have never been here you really should make the effort. There is a great wood fired pizza place a couple of blocks away called The Matchbox. Get a small pizza and see some art!
Two of my friends from Meadville were killed in Viet Nam. Jim Rudd was a neighbor whom I knew quite well. We spent a lot of time together at the YMCA and I can remember his talking about his interest in Native American culture. He was a very sweet guy. He was a private in the Marines and died on 6 August, 1968.
I knew David Dragosavac less well, but Meadville was small and I am pretty sure we were on the Y swim team together at one point. David was a Sergeant in the Army and was killed on 1 April, 1970.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is really worth a visit. Very moving.