Jon Crispin's Notebook


Posted in Buildings, Community, ephemera, Friends, History, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 12/09/2012

On Monday I shot the last of the Willard suitcases for a while.  I hope to use the rest of this month to begin editing the images for the Exploratorium exhibit, and knowing how my brain works I knew I couldn’t attempt to edit while I was still shooting.  I was surprisingly emotional about the whole thing; an important part of the project ended and I am not sure when it might resume.  It is also significant to me that it marks the end of the Kickstarter phase of this work.  So some thank you’s are in order.  I could NEVER have gotten this far without Kickstarter and the incredible support of the almost 700 people who backed me. Thanks to Alex Ross for the long term “loan” of his lights and soft boxes.  He is a true friend.  Craig Williams and the New York State Museum gave me access to the cases and Craig’s support was instrumental in keeping it all moving along.  And Peggy Ross kept me organized.  Without her help in unwrapping, setting up the shots, helping me see things I would have missed, and putting the objects back where they belong I would never have made it through as many of the cases as I did.

I will work on a post later today showing the last case in the queue, as it were.  It was a great one to end on.

9 Responses

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  1. Erin Bogarte said, on 12/09/2012 at 10:35 am

    I subscribed to your blog because of your work with the suitcases. It has been poignant, amusing, and heartbreaking at different times. I have enjoyed your photos and your write ups so much, and wanted you to know how deeply touching it has been to join you on this journey.

    I wish for you a return to this project someday, and much satisfaction in all of your work. Thank you for your generosity in sharing it with me.

    P.S. I am especially fond of your dog!

    – Erin in Seattle

    • Chris Davis said, on 17/08/2015 at 12:38 pm

      Have you read the book ‘The Lives They Left Behind”? It is about looking into the lives of 10 of the hundreds of suitcases that remained after Willard closed.., it’s fascinating and heartbreaking on so many levels.


  2. Donna Catterick said, on 12/09/2012 at 10:36 am

    This is one of the most moving, beautiful series I’ve seen. I’m glad to have been introduced to your work, to Kickstarter, and to more possibilities in photography. Thank you.

  3. David said, on 12/09/2012 at 11:03 am

    Thank you for the journey! Looking forward to future versions of the story, and hoping that there is a book in the future.

  4. Kilian Metcalf said, on 12/09/2012 at 12:51 pm

    This has been an incredible experience. I hope the images become a book; I want one.

  5. […] I mentioned in my earlier post, I have completed the initial shooting portion of the project.  These cases belonged to Frank […]

  6. Desiree said, on 15/09/2012 at 7:04 pm

    Well Jon, I just want to thank YOU for your dedication, tenacity and hard work on this phase of the project. You are an artist and historical commentator of the top order. You have consistently taken me on many journeys of discovery and I will miss these first peeks into the lives of those wonderful, delicate patients:))

  7. Sierra said, on 10/01/2013 at 8:48 am

    I’ve found your work by chance tonight. I’ve been somewhat consumed by it, thank you. I’m hoping to hear you speak at the exhibit at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. I’ve only found one reference to your appearance but no date or time. I hope you share those details so I’m sure to save the date. Your images are touching and have stirred my imagination in a way I’ve missed for a long time. Thank you again for sharing

    • joncrispin said, on 10/01/2013 at 10:08 am

      Sierra, thanks for your comment. It is looking like there will be some sort of event on 20 May at the Exploratorium, but I am not sure what it will be about. The show itself opens in mid April. I’ll keep everyone posted about details as soon as I know. Best and thanks again, Jon

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