Jon Crispin's Notebook

Tilghman in Transition

Posted in Animals, Fishing, Food, Friends, People, Rivers, Water, Work by joncrispin on 28/07/2012

The second film Peter is shooting deals with the transitions that Tilghman folks have been making as a result of the changing situation with the bay.  Larry Gowe was in the Navy and when he returned to the island he used what he learned in the service and became an appliance repairman.

His brother Edward works at Walton’s Seafood counting and sorting crabs.

And this is Darnell Murray who was working at Walton’s with Edward.  Darnell was in the Marines for 18 years and served for most of that time on the USS Nimitz.  His grandparents worked at the Tilghman Packing Company.

Here’s one of the soft crabs from this morning’s catch.  We had some for dinner the other night.  Really tasty.

The folks at Tilghman have really opened up their lives to us.  Peter and I have made some very close friends.

Tilghman Again

Posted in Friends, Landscape, Nature, Water by joncrispin on 28/07/2012

Peter Carroll and I are back on Tilghman Island on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake.  It has been very hot and humid.  We’ve been shooting the watermen doing their work and it has been, as always, a great experience.  Our very generous hosts have a pool right on the Choptank river and at the end of a long day of shooting it felt great to cool off.  Here is Peter looking really good.

Willard Suitcase #17

Posted in Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 25/07/2012

I am working very hard to keep up with shooting the suitcases, which is slowing down my ability to post updates here.  This case belonged to Flora T.

There are a lot of nice details on the case itself.  Just handles and clasps could be an entire chapter in a book.

And those of you who have been following the project for a while know my fondness for tags and labels.

This trunk has three distinct levels.  There are two removable sections and below them, the main compartment.

Flora clearly liked to sew.

I would be interested to find out what this particular item was used for.  I assume spools of thread went on the posts, but other than that I am lost.

These small sewing boxes are always interesting and so personal.

I like the little flour pin in this container.

The top of this mirror has an interesting design.

This was the first I had come across detachable collars for a woman, although I would guess they would have been common for the time.

I wonder how long Henry Likly & Co. produced trunks.  As you can see in the opening photo it is quite beautifully made.

It is at this level where things get interesting.

Before Willard, Flora was a nurse and was over 100 years old when she died there.

But I am not sure about her use of injectable strychnine sulfate.  I looked around the net for information as to its use, but didn’t have much luck.  At some dosages  it could be used as an anti-convulsant, so it is possible she had epilepsy.

Again, I just don’t have any words to describe seeing and photographing these objects.

I try to be informative and provide some context, but ultimately the photos pretty much speak for themselves.

The case also contains many letters and some amazing photographs which help to fill in some idea of her personality.  I’ll try to get to those in part two.  As usual, thanks for all the continued support and encouragement.  This project has turned into a huge undertaking, but is so incredibly satisfying.

Vegetable Stock #2

Posted in Food by joncrispin on 20/07/2012

I made stock again last night.  Same basic idea as before.  I usually cook stuff like this outside on the side burner of the grill to keep the smells down in the house and because our inside stove is electric.  I still prefer gas.  Lots of different veg remainders in this one; lemons,red peppers, ends of haricots vert, and who knows what else.  It smelled really good while cooking and in the end produced about 3 full quarts of stock.  I have been using the last batch to make risotto and the flavors are really subtle.  Give it a try sometime.  So much better than composting if like us you don’t have a vegetable garden.


Posted in Animals, Community, Fish, Water, Windows by joncrispin on 18/07/2012

I had a shoot in Northampton this afternoon and Peter came along to help me out.  As we were walking from Osaka restaurant after a bite to eat we passed a new (to us anyway) store that sold aquarium fish.  The tetras in the tank by the window caught our eye.

Hadley Hall Projection Room

Posted in Art, Community, ephemera, Film, History, Movies by joncrispin on 16/07/2012

This is a bit of an experiment.  When I was out at Willard recently, I shot the bowling alley in Hadley Hall and then went upstairs to the projection room.  The lighting was the weirdest I have come across.  I shoot most of this stuff in RAW, so that I have tons of latitude when it comes to editing the photos.  I messed around with these images for a long time and I could NOT get the color to look good.  The walls were yellowish and there were mixed fluorescents.  Rather than get discouraged and stuff the whole idea of a post I decided to convert to black and white and see how they look online.  Funny, since in the days of film I used to shoot this sort of thing in black and white much of the time.

The tradition for the projectionists was to write the name of the film and the date it was shown on the walls.

Lots of interesting films here.  For example, “All Fall Down” was shown on 13 January, 1963, and Apache Rifles got a (Good) rating.

And here “The Glass Slipper” was shown on 14 April, 1956.  And these were all 35mm prints!

What really interests me about the asylum having shown first run movies is that the residents of the institution were able to attend, as were the people who lived in the surrounding towns.  From what I have been told, the townsfolk sat in the balcony and the asylum residents sat downstairs.

I like these notes for the projectionist.  There must have been someone downstairs who could send some sort of signal in case of a problem.

The projection room seemed to me to be almost totally intact.  The sheet of paper here might be hard to read online, but at the top of the list is “Back To The Future”.

Here’s another of the projection lenses.  A beautifully made optic.

There was still quite a bit of paperwork lying around.

I was just blown away by this room and its contents.

It is really hard to put into words just how fortunate I am to get into places like this, and how important it is to me to be able to preserve images of something that very few people can see for themselves.

So, thank you all for checking in and encouraging me to do this kind of work.  I am off to Rotterdam tomorrow to shoot more suitcases and will post an update to that project very soon.

Block Island

Posted in Architecture, Boats, Friends, Landscape, Travel, Water by joncrispin on 12/07/2012

Cris and I took the ferry to Block Island on Tuesday.  I was photographing the foam kicked up from the props (or jets?) when this woman’s head popped out.

I hadn’t been there for at least 30 years, and I had forgotten what a nice place it is.  We were visiting our friends Scott and Lisa and their kids at their rental on the south side of the island, and the light at the end of the day was really nice.

We left early the next morning, but it was just about a perfect 24 hours.

Hadley Hall Bowling Alley

Posted in History, Sport by joncrispin on 02/07/2012

On Friday I got the chance to get into Hadley Hall on the site of the former Willard Psychiatric Center.  The Romulus Historical Society was setting up the annual display of Willard suitcases and I helped out a bit by moving some boxes around.  There were two areas of interest to me, and this post is about the first of those.  Hadley Hall was the recreation facility for the asylum and was built in 1892.  The building is dominated by a beautiful auditorium complete with a fully functional stage set-up. On the lower level is this bowling alley.  According to people I have spoken to, the alley was used by both staff and patients.

And I believe that the lanes were used up until the psych center closed in the mid 1990s.

The system for resetting the pins and returning the balls was mechanical only to a degree.  Someone back here behind the pins waited for the ball to arrive.  It would be returned via the wooden track and the pins would be reset (depending on a strike or spare).  The mechanical part of the operation involved the pins being dropped onto the lane once they were loaded onto the mechanism (see below).

When people were bowling, the place must have really been hopping.

It is so interesting to me that most of the components of the alley were still here and relatively intact.

The pins certainly look well used.

This is a very cool ball.

I am constantly reminded how fortunate I am to have access to these spaces.

Tomorrow I am back in Rotterdam shooting suitcases, but I hope to post part two of my visit to Hadley Hall later in the week.

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