Jon Crispin's Notebook


Posted in Architecture, Art, Cities, Travel by joncrispin on 27/09/2011

Here’s the last of the Chicago trip.  It’s a very lively city.

Cornelius Krieghoff

Posted in Architecture, Art, Family, People, Travel by joncrispin on 24/09/2011

My childhood was almost completely happy.  There were very few times when I was troubled by much, but one thing that bothered me from time to time was my middle name.  My sister’s is Louise, my brother’s is William and most of my friends had basic “normal” names.  Carol Lee Thomas, Alan Jeffrey Radov, John Joseph Bowman Jr. (Oddly, I can’t remember Mike Hogan’s, but I am guessing it was probably Robert.  In fact he might have been Robert Michael Hogan; named after his dad who was a famous University of Pittsburgh football player.)  My middle name is Krieghoff.  Maybe it was the proximity to the end of the second world war, but to me it just seemed weird.  My mom’s maiden name was Krieghoff, and I guess she had reason to be proud enough of it to pass it along.  It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I started to understand what a cool thing it was to be named after the most famous Canadian painter of the 19th Century.  Read about him here.

I had known that he was buried in Chicago, and yesterday I called the Graceland Cemetery to find out exactly where.  A lovely woman called Max gave me lots of information and since Cris and I are here for a couple of days I made the trek out there this morning.

It is interesting that in 1980 the trustees of Graceland paid for and erected a new stone for his site.  Max walked me through the rather complicated directions to the section where he is buried (section g, resub, lot 178). Being directionally challenged, she gave me some landmark stones and once I spotted the one below, I knew I was in business.

I was told his stone was facing East, and after wandering around a bit I found it.

It is on the west side of the cemetery, just off Western Avenue.

Max had told me that he was laid to rest (what a funny phrase for being put into the ground in a wooden box) on 8 March, 1872.

Look, somebody (me) stuck a number 6 artists brush into the ground next to the stone (seemed more appropriate than flowers).

A very cool day.  Something I have wanted to do for a long time.  /  Chicago is such a great city.  Lots of amazing architecture.

Erie Canal Lock 8

Posted in Architecture, Bridges, Landscape, Rivers, Water by joncrispin on 24/09/2011

I was photographing some of the damage to Lock 8 on the Erie Canal on Wednesday.  It is pretty impressive, and I hope to get back soon to do some of the other locks.  They are magnificent structures.

The river is still very muddy from the flooding and the clean-up will take some time.


Posted in Family by joncrispin on 21/09/2011

Today I was in the Schenectady area shooting Erie Canal damage from the recent storms, and got the chance to stop by Union to visit Peter.  Here he is talking to Cris.  It is lovely to see him smile.  /  I’ll post some of the canal photos tomorrow.


Posted in Family, Fungi, Plants by joncrispin on 18/09/2011

Cris and the Pearl and I went up into the woods today.  My sister Karen once told me what this ↑ little guy is called , but it didn’t stick with me.  Any help, anyone?  They are very delicate and tiny. /  And due to all the recent rain, the fungi are everywhere.

I can’t remember seeing one like this ↑ before.  It is very white.

Tom Schack

Posted in Friends, Music, People, Work by joncrispin on 12/09/2011

In a way, this isn’t really fair.  Tom is always smiling, and this doesn’t really represent who he seems to be.  But I really like this picture. /  I spent part of yesterday morning photographing his band Outer Stylie and it was loads of fun.  Really nice guys.

World Trade Center Panels

Posted in History, Work by joncrispin on 11/09/2011

In 2008, I was asked by the New York State Museum to photograph the panels that lined the Fulton Street viewing area overlooking Ground Zero.  The 4′ x 8′ sheets of plywood were assembled and meant to act as a way to help keep people in line as they waited to view the site of the World Trade Center after the attacks of 11 September, 2001.  Almost immediately people waiting on line started writing on the wood and attaching photos and other momentos in memory and support of the people who died that day.  The panels were never meant to be  permanent, but they became such an important document of the attacks that Craig Williams worked tirelessly to insure some record of their existence be created.  The entire collection of panels was shipped to the museum’s Rotterdam, NY storage facility where we photographed each one.  Since the writing was so small, and I was worried about the camera’s ability to resolve the all detail, I decided to shoot each panel in 3 sections and then stitch the images together to make one large file.

This is one of the hundreds of panels we worked on.  Connie Houde has been assembling the images and the hope is that researchers will be able to access the complete archive in the near future.  (Due to image size limitations of this blog it is nearly impossible to read the smaller writing, but in the original files everything is readable.)  Connie made small prints of the entire layout and one day when I was visiting the museum, she laid them out on the floor of the hallway, all taped together. Amazing

At the time we were working on the Fulton Street panels, Craig mentioned that New Jersey had set up a similar viewing area on Liberty Island and that there might be a chance we could document those panels.  It took a few years to organize, but this past year they were shipped to Hangar 17 at JFK Airport and we set to work again.

The plywood here had been painted white, which makes reading the text much easier. /  So much credit should be given to Craig and his staff for finding the resources to do this work.  Due to the instability of plywood and ballpoint pens and markers, fading has already begun; especially on the Fulton Street panels.  In a few years, much of what has been written will become unreadable.  It is now preserved and will be a great document to the events surrounding the attacks on the Trade Center.

I mentioned Hanger 17 earlier, and I have been fortunate enough to be able to spend quite a bit of time photographing the facility. It is where much of the steel from the buildings has been stored as well as many of the vehicles that were destroyed when the towers collapsed.   I had planned to do a rather long post with photos of these artifacts, but when I was editing the pictures today, it just didn’t feel right.  It is hard to describe the emotional impact just being around items that represent such a sad and emotional event.  There is a certain reverence that one feels when surrounded by so much intensity, and it felt kind of bad to be exploiting it.  Maybe someday I’ll do something with them.  I made a couple of 360 degree panoramas of the interior of the hangar, and it might be nice to post them here so that people can see what it looked like before most of the steel was distributed around the country. / I’d encourage you all on this 10th anniversary of the attack to think about the people who died, along with their friends and families.

Sox v Yankees

Posted in Architecture, Baseball, Family, Sport by joncrispin on 01/09/2011


This is my great nephew and godson Crispin Duryee who is an avid Yankee fan.

He and his dad had planned to go see the Sox/Yankees game last night but Burr had a schedule conflict and couldn’t make it.  I was more than happy to step in take him, and it was a blast.  I hadn’t gone to a ballgame with an eight year old since Peter was little, and it definitely brought back memories.

It was a beautiful night for baseball and the Yanks/Sox rivalry meant for a crowd that was really into the game.  Crispin is amazingly knowledgable about the Yankees and was fascinated by all the statistical information displayed on the new jumbotrons.  He was a perfect companion at a game; never bored, always in tune with the action and unabashedly rooting for his team.  The Sox won 9-4 which made me happy but was surely disappointing for him.  We’ll see what happens tonight when Burnett goes up against Lester.

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