Willard Asylum Suitcase #2
I was back in Rotterdam last week to photograph more suitcases from Willard Asylum. Check this out for the background of the project.
I am slowly beginning to formulate a plan for how to proceed.
Even though an inventory of each case has been prepared by the museum, I prefer not to know the contents before I begin taking pictures.
There is something about being surprised by what’s inside that helps me connect with the person.
And I want the connection because I am trying to say something about the lives they lived before arriving at the asylum.
Anna’s first case contained mostly clothes.
I believe the inventory was done just as she arrived at Willard.
The museum is very careful about caring for each individual item.
Anna had some really beautiful clothes.
Just about all of her clothes had nametags, which I have to assume were sewn in before her time at Willard.
Below is the second of her cases.
This one had fewer clothes and more personal items.
For some reason, I really like the paper that the museum uses to protect the cases and their contents.
I especially like the design of this one.
When I photographed the abandoned buildings on the earlier project, I tried never to move items that I came across. This is so different for me as I need to lay the items out in order to photograph, but I don’t want to make the arrangements look too studied. I actually work very fast when I am shooting.
This case contained several hats, and an incredible pair of shoes.
There were also some indications of her life before Willard.
The hair pin packaging is beautiful.
I am not sure if the residents of Willard had access to their possessions during the time they were living there, but somehow I think not. So this letter would probably have been received before she arrived.
And since it was not addressed to Anna, I wonder about its importance to her.
Thanks so much to Craig Williams at the New York State Museum for allowing me access. As I mentioned in the earlier post, I would really appreciate any feedback. I still don’t have an outlet for this work, and no funds to jump into it in any concerted manner, but I hope to keep chipping away. There is alot of information about the people attached to these suitcases and should I go much further with the project, I would like to be able to include some biographical background to accompany the photos.