Jon Crispin's Notebook

Another Connecticut Avenue Apartment Building

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, historic buildings by joncrispin on 27/11/2015

Connecticut Avenue Apartment Building

Here’s another Connecticut Avenue  apartment building.  Clearly from a different era from the ones I posted this morning.

Sulgrave Manor / La Reine

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, historic buildings, historic preservation, History by joncrispin on 27/11/2015

sulgrave manor

Cris and I are in DC for a few days visiting Peter.  There are so many nice apartment buildings along Connecticut Avenue, and these two caught my eye this morning.

la reine

These residential prewar buildings are so common throughout the district.  They sure don’t build ’em like they used to.


Posted in autumn, Nature, Plants, Trees by joncrispin on 19/11/2015

acorn top

Olive and I had a nice walk in the woods today.  There are so many oak leaves on the ground, and lots of acorns.  It looks like rain later today, and then another sunny day tomorrow.

labrador in water

If there is water to be found, she will be in it.

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Willard Suitcases / John M / Lawrence G R / Final Case

Posted in Clothing, ephemera, History, Mental Health, psychiatry, suitcases by joncrispin on 15/11/2015

Well, this seems to be it.  This past Monday when we started our last day of shooting we expected to have just one remaining case with which to work.  There were a few names on our master list that we didn’t photograph, but with a collection of over 400 suitcases, we figured that one or two were bound to be unaccounted for.

John M’s suitcase had just come back from the Exploratorium and we were eager to finish with his things.  This woolen suit with two pair of trousers was unlike any other we had seen.

It was in pretty good shape, with the exception of this little hole.  I don’t think it was a moth problem, but maybe he just caught it on a nail.  Love the blue thread that runs through the weave.

We had shut off the strobes and were ready to pack up when we decided to look through the “institutional” items in the collection.  (We are trying to decide whether or not to photograph these objects as well.)  Peg spotted a box mixed in with the others that contained Lawrence R’s suitcase, so we fired everything up and got back to work.

Lawrence’s case was a really nice one.  It contained quite a few letters, and some newspaper clippings.  I like the headline here; “Cats Call Truce in War on Rats…” and there is a mention of goats underneath the photo.  My friend Tania Werbizky is responsible for introducing me to Willard many years ago, and she loves both cats and goats.  So this is a little thank you to her.

I also want to take a moment to give my heartfelt thanks the New York State Museum for allowing me access to the collection.  But most of all I want to thank all of you who have been following along with me.  I have learned so much from the comments you have posted, and from the very moving emails I have received from people who share with me their own struggles with mental health issues.   And as I have said so many times before, I could not, and would not have been able to complete this work without the assistance and encouragement of Peggy Ross. She has added so much to all aspects of the project, and deserves the lion’s share of the credit.

Even though the shooting is finished, the work is far from over, and in some ways it is just the beginning.  I will continuously be editing the photos and uploading them to the site.  I’ll continue to travel and speak about the suitcases and will be posting here where those talks are happening.  There will undoubtedly be exhibits and I will be actively pursuing publishers.  There has been so much call for a book, and am hopeful that a publisher will be found.

So, it is onward we go. Thank you all so much.

Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L / Only One More

Posted in Candy, gum, gum wrappers, History, Institutions, Mental Health by joncrispin on 28/10/2015

I have always liked the ephemeral aspects of this project.  This would have been a Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit wrapper from the early part of the 20th Century.  I am sure someone from Mars (owners of the brand) could date this one, but I couldn’t find a site that details the evolution of gum wrappers, so I would estimate somewhere between 1915 and 1925.  Why he saved the chewed piece of gum in the silver paper next to the button is anyone’s guess.

Yesterday, we finished shooting Rodrigo’s things.  In looking at our list, only one person remains.  John M’s case is being sent back from The Exploratorium, and there is a good chance that it will be in Albany by next week.  I went through a very emotional time some months ago while thinking about the shooting phase of the project ending.  I think what I will miss most is the impact of opening the cases and feeling a very real connection to these people who were patients at Willard.  The job of editing the photographs will be the next big push, and I am really looking forward to it.  I am a bit behind on uploading to the site, and am hoping to be able to devote several days a week to working on that.

Thanks for all the support and interest in the project, and especially to folks who are ordering prints from the site.  Cheers.

Last Tomato

Posted in fruits, tomato, vegetables by joncrispin on 23/10/2015

This is the last tomato of the season.  It was still not quite ripe when I picked it earlier this week, but it looks about ready to go.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Turner At The Clark

Posted in Art, galleries, museums by joncrispin on 21/10/2015

Cris and I took the afternoon off today and went to the Clark in Williamstown.  A lovely drive up Route 2.

There was only one Turner, but it was in a room of its own.  He is still my favorite.  There’s a ton of great Impressionist art in this private collection, especially Renoir and Monet.  Also a huge number of  Sargents, Homers, and Cassatts. It is really hard to believe that a family could amass this much amazing art, and it is so great that it is open to the public.

Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L’s Books (Update)

Posted in History, Mental Health, philippine history, psychiatric centers, suitcases by joncrispin on 14/10/2015

Rodrigo had quite a few books.  While shooting yesterday we came across several objects that he had pressed between pages.  This feather is breathtakingly beautiful, and I love the discoloration on the opposite page.

This moth was quite intact.

But the dragonfly had lost one of its wings.

This is a classic oak leaf.

This is the book from which these came.  Here is a link to some information about José Rizal.

Thanks for following.

My buddy Dhyan had some information about the insects.  Here’s what she says.  Thanks!

  • That is a butterfly not a moth.  Butterfly wings go up.  Moth wings lay flat on the back. 
  • You have no idea how much time I “lose” because I get interested in things you publish.  I think this butterfly may be a kind of fritillary.  See attached pictures.  The one in the book is pretty faded. I didn’t see anything “exactly” like it in google.
  • Also, I think, looking at the picture that all the dragonfly wings are actually there.  Dragonflies have two on each side and there are four wings in the picture.

Mass Pike / Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L / Rochester

Posted in Cities, driving, History, Mental Health, Rivers, Travel by joncrispin on 07/10/2015

I started the day very early driving west on the Mass Pike on my way to shoot suitcases.

We were able to learn quite a bit about Rodrigo from his papers.  He came to Salt Lake City from the Philippines to attend high school.

He was always active in Filipino organizations in the US.  After Salt Lake, he moved to Chicago for a time, then onto Buffalo before ending up at Willard.

I did a quick search for Herbert Ray Olmsted and found this on RootsWeb.

OLMSTEAD HERBERT R., Portrait enlargements and kindred lines of Art Work, 		
	studio and office 5 Delevan, h 11 Gaylord   (See adv

Love Herbert’s stylish handwriting.

I am in an EconoLodge in Brockport, NY on my way to meet some Erie Canal folks to spend tomorrow shooting the autumn inspection of some of the locks east of Buffalo.  Stopped in Rochester for a bite to eat just as the evening was arriving.

UMASS Women’s Soccer

Posted in football, penalty kicks, soccer, sports by joncrispin on 06/10/2015

I sometimes cover for my friend Thom Kendall who is the UMASS sports photographer.  He had two simultaneous events this afternoon, so he asked me to shoot the women’s soccer team photographs.  I know the wide angle kind of distorts the distance, but the ball is on the spot for a penalty kick.  After I took the photograph, I attempted the PK.  A total miss, but they were great sports.  But hey, with 26 goalies, who could score?

I feel so fortunate that my life as a photographer allows me to connect with such diverse organizations and people. There was so much life in these young women, and it was such a beautiful day.  It made me really happy to lark about with them before they got down to the hard work of practice and being students.


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