Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / Henry L

Posted in Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 31/01/2015

I have just uploaded a few more cases to the site.  Henry L’s cardboard box is one of the more interesting in the collection.  This photograph was in the Exploratorium exhibit, and it is one that my friend Alex Ross printed at about 48 inches wide.  It looks amazing huge.

Peg is back from her travels, and we hope to begin shooting again sometime this week. We are both eager to get back to it.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Willard Suitcases / Thomas Y

Posted in Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 30/01/2015

One of my goals in the early part of this year is to work very hard at uploading the cases to  Today I edited Thomas Y’s case.  Here is a shot of one of the locks.  Sometimes I find myself just opening and closing them over and over; the sound can be very evocative.

When I started this project, I truly had no idea of the way that it could touch people.  On a daily basis I get email and comments from folks who stumble across the photos online.  I save them all, and sometimes I am awed by how the work is perceived by people whose lives have been touched by mental illness.  Today, a comment was posted by Daphne and since it was put up publicly, I hope that she won’t mind if I quote her here.

“I just saw this. oh my, I am so humbled for those who you make alive and human again. They were just like us in many ways. To be shrunk into ONE suitcase…is beyond me. I have a lifetime of mental illness in my family, and I have to say, they are just like us…all in all…as you show. Thank you.”

No, Daphne…..thank you.

Ben’s Chili Bowl / Codmother

Posted in Beer, Fish, Food, Travel by joncrispin on 25/01/2015

I’m in DC for the weekend before heading out to Tilghman for a few days.  Last night Peter and I went over to U Street for some eats.  I couldn’t be this close to Ben’s without stopping in for a Half Smoke.  It was amazing.

Afterwards, he wanted to take me to Codmother for fish and chips.  What a place.  Great fish though.

As I was driving down of Friday and listening to BBC Radio 4, I heard this commentary by A.L. Kennedy and found it interesting.  You can either read it here, or better yet listen to the podcast here. I found it very touching.

Big Stick and Chelle’s Kickstarter

Posted in Abandoned Buildings, Dogs, Labradors, Nature, sticks by joncrispin on 20/01/2015

When we are on our walks in the woods, Olive is in the habit of picking up a stick and dragging it back to the house.  She dug this one out of the snow the other day.  I was pretty sure she wouldn’t manage it, but to my amazement she succeeded.  Without any exaggeration, I would have to say it was at least 12 feet long and quite heavy.

One of my suitcase backers from Australia, Chelle Destefano, has just put up a kickstarter appeal, and it looks interesting.  I would encourage any of you who are interested in abandoned spaces to check it out here.

Willard Suitcases / LaVerne W and

Posted in Asylums, History, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 15/01/2015

This photograph is from the last shoot of 2014.  LaVerne’s case held an amazing collection of postcards from Europe and some very interesting personal photographs. / Due to scheduling issues, Peg and I and won’t be able to get back to the project until later this month, but we are on the home stretch with the suitcases.  I would estimate that we have photographed at least 350 of the roughly 400 cases and it feels great.  The next phase (along with continuing to edit and upload to the site) will be to start talking to publishers and galleries.

Some very good news about coverage of the work.  In mid December I started to see an up tic in traffic on the web, and I have been receiving lots of interest and great feedback.  Just this morning ran a selection of the images.  It is featured quite high on their main page and here is the direct link.  Thanks so much to Kate at ABC News for her interest.

And a very interesting site in Brazil just ran a long article on the project.  The InstitutoMoreiraSalles (IMS) runs an online magazine called ZUM and they did a great job putting the piece together.  Here is the link.  If any of you read Portuguese, let me know how it sounds.


Posted in Food, Fungi, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 07/01/2015

This is the kind of thing that drives Cris a bit crazy.  She finally insisted that I photograph this thing today and that I get it off the counter. Otherwise I would have let it go for a few more days. / She has been a vegetarian since college (her first BA at UC Chico) and has always said the one thing she missed was bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches.  This past summer I spent a great weekend with my college pal Seth Tibbott and bunch of my other Wittenberg friends.  Seth was always a bit of a wild man and after he graduated he moved to the Northwest and started Turtle Island Foods, makers of the famous Tofurky.  He still runs the company and when we were together he gave me some coupons.  They make a tempeh product that resembles bacon and I picked up some to see how it was.  Well, it is great, and Cris is thrilled to be able to have tempeh, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches.  So when I make them, there is usually some left-over tomato.  I left this one on the counter overnight and by the next morning it started growing hair!

Well, hair like things with tiny black balls on the ends.  I am quite good in keeping a tidy kitchen, but once in a while I do leave things out.  I have seen a lot in my cooking life, but never anything like this. It certainly isn’t mold, but what in the wide wide world of sports is it?


Posted in Beaches, Plants by joncrispin on 04/01/2015

I was walking on the beach today at low tide and saw this piece of plant that had washed up sometime earlier in the day.  A pretty perfect “S”, and I thought that it could be the start of a collection of naturally occurring  letters.  A few minutes later, I saw this “C”.

Well, I thought, another one for the collection.  And then, this “J”.

I ended up walking about 5 miles on the beach, looking for letters.

This “U” is nice with the leaves still attached; sort of like the “S”.

I’m calling this one ↑ an “I”

Nice to have found an “L”.  So useful at times.

It might be stretching it a bit to call the one above a “G”, but hey, it works for me.

No question though, this is a lovely “F”

This one came pretty close to being a “Q”, but an “O” is much more useful (although we did have a “U” to go with the “Q”).

This is just barely a “W”, and it even has a little flower attached.

And finally, this somewhat stylized “T”.

I am a pretty lame Scrabble player, but I try to do the Times crossword everyday.  As I was walking back from the beach I thought it might be nice to see how many words could be made from these letters.  S C J U I L G F O W T.  It is a good mix of vowels and consonants.  If you want to join in, post your words in the comments section.

I am wishing all of you a fantastic, productive, and peaceful 2015.  Cheers, Jon

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