Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / November update

Posted in Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 15/11/2013

It has been quite a while since I have posted a suitcases update.  There is a lot going on, and I finally have a bit of a breather.  I have been shooting at least one day a week in Rotterdam, and some weeks I have managed two full days.

 On Tuesday, Peter Carroll came out from Ithaca and we shot video for the upcoming Kickstarter 2 appeal.  It will be several weeks before it is even close to be up and running (pending Kickstarter approval), but I have been thinking a great deal about how to go about the whole thing.

 I have a natural aversion to asking for financial support for my independent projects, and it is a bit of a struggle for me to think about how to begin this process all over again.  After the shoot, I was talking to my son Peter, and he had some great words of encouragement, especially the idea that I would never be asking for a second round of support if the first one wasn’t so successful in getting folks interested in the suitcases.

 And what really keeps me going is that in doing this work, I have helped to create and incredible community of people who are invested in the completion of the project.

 Peg Ross and I have been so productive in the last two months.  We have a system set up that allows us to be super efficient.  In one two day period alone we managed to shoot almost 30 cases.  Most of these were partially to completely empty, but I have come to feel that it is just as important to document these suitcase as the ones that are full.

 These license plates are a good example.  Along with the paper tag, these were the only objects in Robert Y’s case.  Amazing.

 Stuert B’s case was filled with these bathroom products.  This is the second container of Dr. Lyon’s Tooth Powder we have come across.

 I love the Mennen logo on the top of the talcum container.  Beautiful.

 I have also been able to upload a few more suitcases to “The Cases” section of  Check it out if you get the chance and please stay in touch.  It means so much to me to get feedback.

16 Responses

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  1. kjwx said, on 15/11/2013 at 1:00 pm

    Great news about the second Kickstarter project, Jon – especially for those of us who missed out on your first fundraiser.

  2. laura scavone said, on 15/11/2013 at 2:13 pm

    Your work has been an ENORMOUS inspiration to me and I am most grateful for the stories you have shared as you work. I’m looking forward to your 2nd Kickstarter and will be happy to spread the word!!!

  3. Heidi Mason said, on 15/11/2013 at 2:22 pm

    I found out about this after the first one ended, but I am so there as a supporter for the second Kickstarter. This is worth funding! (I hope there’s a print version of all this planned with that second Kickstarter 😀 )

  4. Monique Ciofu said, on 15/11/2013 at 2:45 pm

    So glad to see these again! Enjoy them so much. Thank you for posting them!

  5. Donna Catterick said, on 15/11/2013 at 2:47 pm

    Looking forward to your next Kickstarter project.
    BTW we used Dr. Lyon’s Tooth Powder when I was a child – late 1940s, early 1950s. I would use it now if it were still available!

  6. Glen Gerrard said, on 15/11/2013 at 3:08 pm

    Lovely to see, perhaps they could be a short story competition, based on the contents of any one suitcase.

  7. Lorilyn Tenney said, on 15/11/2013 at 3:19 pm

    Once again you have captured my heart and imagination with your photos. Thanks for sharing them with the world and bringing their owners to life.

  8. Cat said, on 15/11/2013 at 6:46 pm

    Really happy to hear there will be another Kickstarter campaign! I was a proud backer of the first and have been captivated by the project. Thanks for your dedication, Jon.

  9. Hank. said, on 15/11/2013 at 6:52 pm

    Wonderful news about a second Kickstarter–good stuff! I really love the 1939 New York World’s Fair license plate photos! They’ve got me thinking, “Trylon and Perisphere” and reminds me of my mom describing the feeling in NYC around that time. Looking forward to hearing about the new Kickstarter!

  10. Mary Beaudry said, on 15/11/2013 at 7:26 pm

    Your son Peter is very wise. So many of us feel not just invested, but emotionally engaged with this work. Your photographs are effect a direct and meaninful connection between the viewer (us) and the owner of these compelling and evocative material objects. As a student of material culture, and, I hope, humanity, I am enriched by your work. Looking forward to being able to help it move forward.

  11. Jen said, on 16/11/2013 at 10:32 am

    I still love these. I’ve been following you for a while and still am crazy (yeah, I guess pun intended…) over those suitcases. Thanks for the post

  12. Colleen Janes said, on 18/11/2013 at 11:47 am

    License plates. There’s most certainly a story there. A favorite car? Or did he keep them because he went to the World’s Fair? Did he steal the car that they used to be on? Did he play those numbers and won the lottery? 🙂 So many possibilities to wonder about!

  13. lyndarwh said, on 18/11/2013 at 3:49 pm

    Looking forward to Kick starter 2 (again as someone who missed the first one).This project deserves to be completed.

  14. Mel Walborn said, on 18/11/2013 at 9:32 pm

    Really love your dedication to this project and care in documenting. It seems as each suitcase reveals a sense of rawness of an untold story. I am so intrigued and want to know more about each owner.

  15. Ann Forster said, on 26/08/2019 at 5:49 pm

    I wasn’t aware of the Kickstarter either, where can we contribute? Always happy to help, and get involved when it comes to this project.

    • joncrispin said, on 27/08/2019 at 8:57 am

      Hi Ann, Thanks so much for your interest. The Kickstarter is over, but I do sell prints and I have a lovely self published book that I sell to continue funding the work. This morning I discovered Bluehost temporarily took down the site. Working on getting it back up.

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