Jon Crispin's Notebook

Union Square

Posted in Architecture, Cities, Jon Crispin, Panoramas, Travel, Windows by joncrispin on 30/04/2013

We will be heading back East early tomorrow.  I had hoped to have a long post about the Exploratorium exhibit ready to go, but I am still processing my feelings.  I will have something up by Thursday.  What can be said now though is that by mounting “The Changing Face of What is Normal” in what was basically a museum dedicated to science related issues, they have done something incredibly daring.  It is not what many people familiar with the Exploratorium expect to see, and for that I give them a ton of credit.  It is a very interesting experience and for those of you who get the chance to be in the area, well worth the effort.

California Coast

Posted in Animals, Beaches, Bridges, Cities, Flowers, Landscape, Nature, Plants, Ships, Uncategorized, Water by joncrispin on 29/04/2013

This will be a picture heavy post without too many words.

We stopped in Pismo Beach, which is a sweet little town with a nice pier.  I like being able to shoot from above, which is a great angle to document guys with metal detectors.

Morro Bay is another pleasant town.  We were blown away to see these sea otters rafting at the end of the day so near to the town.  The wide angle lens doesn’t make them seem so close, but they were right there.

Next stop was the amazing elephant seal beach just near to San Simeon.  These seals have been coming to this location since the early ’90s.  Noisy and smelly (but in a very nice way).  Remarkable to be so close to these creatures.

They are molting at this time of the year and aren’t particularly active.

Next up, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park near Big Sur.  Well worth a visit.

It is Spring out here and wild flowers are everywhere.  This looks to be some sort of iris.

This spectacular field is just off Highway 1.  We came around a corner and this scene took our breath away.

California poppys.  Cris says they are the state flower.

Point Lobos State Park is a wonderful place to hike and get close to the ocean.  The trails are  extensive; it would be easy to spend a whole day here.

I had never been in the redwoods before.   This same photo has probably been taken a million times, but who could resist.  Big Basin State Park is just north of Santa Cruz.

Since I’m in California, I can get away with the word awesome.  Truly amazing.

Had a nice walk yesterday from the Exploratorium up to the Golden Gate Bridge.  Finally saw “The Changing Face of What is Normal” exhibit and will post some shots and my reaction soon.

Stahl House (Case Study House #22)

Posted in Architecture, Art, ephemera, Family, History, Jon Crispin, Landscape, Panoramas, Travel by joncrispin on 23/04/2013

I have been fortunate as a photographer to get into a number amazing buildings.  Not many quite as incredible as the Stahl House in LA.  Cristine’s sister Lynne and her husband John are docents there, and on Sunday evening we had the privilege to be in one of the most iconic mid-century homes in the world.

The story of the house is well documented so I will not go into it, but it is well worth reading about.  Click on the Stahl House link above and you can read a bit more about it here.

The most amazing aspect of the house now is that it is still family owned, and they have graciously made it open to the public.  For what is a very reasonable fee, small groups can have guided tours (possibly by Lynne and John) that allow visitors to experience something so rare that it is almost inconceivable.  (Cristine looks quite at home in this shot.)

This is a stitched photograph (2 images) that is not perfect (one funky area that I noticed right away), but it shows the house pretty well at twilight. / Big thanks to the Stahl family, and especially to Lynne and John who have become experts in mid-century architecture and artifacts.  They also docent at the Eames House, which is open to the public on a limited basis. / Go to the Stahl House website to poke around and set up a tour.  If you are in LA it is easily one of the top 5 things to do.

Lemons and Tortoises

Posted in Animals, Flowers, Food, Nature, Travel, Weather by joncrispin on 21/04/2013

I was all set to do a final post about last weekend’s trip to to DC when the news of events at the Marathon started trickling in.  I just felt so bad for most of the week that anything I could say here seemed trivial.  Last night I flew out to Southern California to meet up with Cris who has been staying with her sister in Orange County.  Since things in Boston appear to be mostly resolved, and it is so nice to be here with family, my mood has lightened considerably.  And who wouldn’t be cheered by the sight of these lemons growing in Lynne and John’s front garden.  I will never cease to be amazed by this tree.

And Lynne’s desert tortoises have recently come out of hibernation.  She suggested I grab a hibiscus flower and as I walked toward George here, he came to me and got right to it.

Pups in the Park

Posted in Baseball, Family, Flowers, Trees by joncrispin on 14/04/2013

I made a run down to DC yesterday to deliver more household stuff for Peter’s apartment.  Today we went to see the Nats and were delighted to discover that it was “Pups in the Park” day.  And as is obvious, there was sniffing.

This picture shows Gio Gonzalez’s first pitch, which B.J. Upton promptly put into left field for a double.  It went downhill for the Nationals from there.  The final was 9-0 Braves, but it was a fun game to watch.  Peter was especially excited about being able to walk up to the box office and get $20.00 seats an hour before first pitch.  Something that hasn’t happened at Fenway for a very long time.

This is my second trip to the park, and the fact that you can see the Capitol as you are exiting from the upper levels is way cool.


Pete also told me that these cherry trees were an important part of the planning of the park.  So nice to see them in bloom.  It was beautiful here in the District today and a perfect day for baseball.

“Paper Wins”

Posted in Art, Jon Crispin by joncrispin on 12/04/2013

My friend Charlotte X.C. Sullivan produced this lovely piece called “Paper Wins”

It is based on the idea of the “emotional complexity of choice” with the game Rock, Paper, Scissors in mind.  She molded the papers over “river-smoothed” rocks and placed them on the floor of a large barn/artist’s space at Bramble Hill Farm in Amherst.

It became somewhat of a performance piece when she was de-installing it and the giant fan needed some help in blowing the papers away.

London Bits and Pieces

Posted in ephemera, Family, Government, History, Jon Crispin, People, Published work, Travel by joncrispin on 09/04/2013

I  always try to be positive when I post here, so I will not say much on the death of Margaret Thatcher.  But here is a link to a great song.  This photograph was taken on 11 November, 1980 on Remembrance Day.  It used to be possible to get pretty close to Number 10.

As I was going through my contact sheets I came across a couple of other shots I have been meaning to post here.

I think this is the English footballer Kevin Keegan outside of Buckingham Palace on 9 November,1982, the day he received his OBE from the Queen.  Anyone out there who can correct me?

And finally, this shot.


This photographed has always gotten to me.  I  have a framed copy above my desk here in my studio.  I was walking through Victoria Station in November of 1983 and saw this child, with an adult who I assume is his father.  A month later the IRA set off a bomb outside of Harrods that killed six and injured 90.  I am not sure why I put the two events together, but the connection of toy guns and real violence seems reasonable to me.

American Society of Picture Professionals

Posted in Asylums, Published work, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 04/04/2013

In March I was contacted by Jain Lemos from the ASPP.

She had seen the Salon piece on the suitcases just as she was putting the finishing touches on the latest issue of their quarterly magazine.  Jain knew that it would be very last minute, but we managed to select images and I wrote 400 words about the project.  I loved her idea of featuring the preservation of the suitcases and contents, especially how the New York State Museum spent so much time and care on the cataloging and conservation aspect.  Yesterday I received a few copies directly from the printer and the story looks great.  They used a cropped shot of the glycerine bottle on the contents page, and as you can see above, eight shots were used in the spread.  The magazine is available only to members, but the story should be up online in a month or so.  It is a really great organization and not just for photographers; many members are picture editors and others who work directly with images in other ways.  If you work with images in any way, it might be a good idea to check them out.

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