I am back shooting suitcases after a bit of a break. Peg has been traveling as have I, and it feels great to be working on the project again. / Joseph A. has a huge number of items in the collection. There were about 15 museum boxes in one of the big storage containers. It is always a bit intimidating with so many artifacts, especially when a large number of the items are clothing. In Joseph’s case it was interesting because half of the clothes were women’s. It wasn’t until we got deep into the setup that we found this card with the “Wife’s clothing” writing on it. As with most of the information that we glean from the objects, we can only guess the circumstances of Joseph’s admission to Willard. In this case though, it is very likely that his wife was deceased and he brought all her things with him. (This included a ton of household items such as sheets, towels, napkins, etc.) Very sad and touching.
I will be presenting the project at the Seward House Museum in Auburn, NY on (next) Wednesday the 5th of November. The event is at the Auburn Public Theatre at 7.00 PM and there is a $10.00 admission fee ($5.00 for members). I will also be talking about my NY State prison documentation project. If you follow this blog, please come up and say hi. It would be great to meet you.
There is a Nor’easter spinning around New England today. It is always a bit odd to have weather move in from the East. I have been spending a lot of time in front of the computer editing photographs and answering email, and thought the dog and I could use some time in the woods.
I have written before about these little plants that grow around here and, as usual, I can never remember what they are called. The recent rains have really brought them out.
Fantastic stick action for Olive.
In addition to the usual horse shit and acorns that she usually finds and eats, she also ate some of these mushrooms before I could stop her.
Anybody have any idea if they are poisonous? Or hallucinogenic? Let’s hope not. Ach, puppies.
I have been back from England for several days, but had some images from there I wanted to post, so this will be a bit transitional.
Cris and I had a nice walk in the Green Park and in St James’s Park on Saturday before heading back up to Stratford upon Avon.
There was an amazing exhibit at the entrance of St James’s called “Fields of Battle – Lands of Peace“. Photographer Michael St. Maur Sheil went to major sites of the first world war and documented what remains from 100 years ago. It is a brilliant idea, and executed really well. It is wild to see huge photographs mounted outside.
Whenever I drive from London to Stratford upon Avon I stop at the Oxford Services on the M40. Just above the carpark is a hillock where you get a great view of the countryside. I think I might have posted a similar photograph from a previous trip.
We basically did the same walk on Sunday that we had done the week before.
This time it was very misty. I am happy to say that the horse with the red coat had his friend back.
The nice thing about doing walks in different weather conditions is that you see the landscape in an entirely different way.
Although the beer looked pretty much the same.
As did the outdoor gents. (Gentlemen is such a nice word; it should be used more.)
After the Sunday roast at the pub, we went next door to Snowshill Manor. The whole place is really bizarre, and very interesting. The gardens are really nice and I was really pleased to see this Green Man water spigot. I have become somewhat obsessed with the idea of the Green Man; it is very pagan but you can still find him in some early churches in England. I think there are 4 in Shakespeare’s church in Stratford upon Avon. (There is also a great XTC song about him.)
It is nice to be home, although for some reason England is always the place I feel the most comfortable. But I live here, and it is a beautiful part of the world. The Olive was really glad to see us, and after the recent rains she has been able to find water (and mud) everywhere.
There is a nice comment on the Foundling post from Nikki Soppelsa. She reminded me that she was indeed one of the people who told me about the collection in London. Check out her great blog here. And thanks Nikki. Also my friend Connie Frisbee Houde sent me the link about the fabric exhibit at The Foundling.
These hair pins were in a case when I last shot in Rotterdam. I don’t have my notes with me to credit the owner, but I’ll try to update when I am back in the studio.
I also wanted to mention that the folks at outhistory.org sent me an interesting link about Lucy Ann Lobdell, who was a patient at Willard. And Claire Potter posted about the project on their blog. Thanks to Jonathan Ned Katz and Claire.
Early on in the suitcase project, people started sending me links to the Foundling Museum in London. Some saw an emotional connection between my project and the amazing stories that are a part of the museum’s collection. I was really flattered. This past Friday I finally got the chance to stop by and visit. It is really difficult to describe in words the impact of the exhibits, and of the building itself.
This is one of many tokens that mothers or fathers left behind to identify their children should they ever return to claim their abandoned child. It was a simple, but effective system. So much history here, and I would encourage going to their site to read about what an incredible institution Thomas Coram envisioned and successfully started.
I thought a lot about charity, art, and how brilliant Coram was in bringing in creative people to support the hospital. Both William Hogarth and George Frideric Handel were governors, and donated time and energy to the idea of saving abandoned children. The museum still utilizes this model in their temporary gallery space. I was really bummed to have just missed a Grayson Perry exhibit. (If you have a few hours to spare, please listen to this.)
Sometimes art can really have an impact.
I met Cris at Heathrow yesterday. She has an all-day meeting today and in order to keep her awake and adjust to the time change, we did a long walk to The Regent’s Park late in the afternoon. It is amazing that the roses in Queen Mary’s Garden are still blooming in a major way this late into the year.
Earlier in the day I realized that England were to play San Marino at Wembley in the evening, and I knew that Peter would be disappointed if I didn’t attempt to get a ticket.
I got to my seat near half-time just as Wayne Rooney was taking a penalty to make it 2 – nil.
As San Marino is considered the worst team in FIFA, the crowd was a bit sparse; announced attendance was just over 55,ooo. The final score was 5 – nil England.
I have been to lots of League matches, but never an international at Wembley, and I must say that the Brits have crowd control down to a science. Some of it has to do with the design of the stadium, some with the way that the police control things, but mostly it has to do with the fact that the English do nothing better that queueing.
It was a great evening; I thought of Peter the whole time. I really wish he was with me.
We made it to the Tate Britain today to see the Turner show. It was amazing. No photography in the temporary exhibits, so no pics, but oh my, what an exhibit. He was it.
The rest of the museum was nice. All Brit artists and huge, with lots of variety.
Walked around London afterwards and saw these coots in St. James’s Park. I love coots.
Long bus ride out to Hammersmith to have a few pints at The Dove.
To me, it is the nicest and most welcoming pub in London.
John and I have a long history here. We never made it to the V and A for the Constable exhibit. Maybe tomorrow or Friday.
I thought it might be a nice day today as this happened this morning when I threw a handful of things from my pocket on the bed.
John, Flora, Violet, and I drove to Broadway in the Cotswolds to walk from there to Snowshill and back.
We started on the outskirts of Broadway and we were immediately in fields.
Blackberries were plentiful.
Quite quickly we climbed up to the ridge where the view was spectacular.
As we were walking next to this pasture, we were passed by a horse carrier that contained one of this fellow’s mates. They were both whinnying and it was obvious that they weren’t happy about being split up. Horses are really interesting animals.
The footpath at times was on public roads, and at times just a narrow trail through the woods.
This is the view of Snowshill when we were about 10 minutes walk away.
Here’s another example of when the public footpath shares a country lane.
I have always liked these convex mirrors.
St. Barnabas is directly arcross the road from our halfway stop.
The Snowshill Arms is a great place for a couple of pints and the Sunday Roast. It was excellent.
After lunch, I stuck my head inside the church. It is very simple and not old (in relative terms), and the windows are beautiful.
This sweet little cat followed us for a bit and mewed the whole way.
Once outside the village, we were pretty quickly back into the woods.
It is such a peaceful walk, and we rarely saw others on the path.
Violet gave me this stone with moss growing on it.
This property is called Middle Hill House. It is pretty easy to fantasize about living in a place like this.
This sort of day is so exotic to me; for my friends who live less than an hour away it is a regular trip to make at the weekend.
It is so interesting to me that the public footpath goes right through the middle of farms and fields. We shared our walk with horses, cows, dogs, cats, and of course, lots of sheep.
This particular horse was very friendly though he could be a bit nippy.
A farm just on the outskirts of Broadway breeds dogs for the hunt, and these very friendly pups loved the attention.
A great day. Thanks to John, Flora, and Violet. Wonderful.