Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L / Only One More

Posted in Candy, gum, gum wrappers, History, Institutions, Mental Health by joncrispin on 28/10/2015

I have always liked the ephemeral aspects of this project.  This would have been a Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit wrapper from the early part of the 20th Century.  I am sure someone from Mars (owners of the brand) could date this one, but I couldn’t find a site that details the evolution of gum wrappers, so I would estimate somewhere between 1915 and 1925.  Why he saved the chewed piece of gum in the silver paper next to the button is anyone’s guess.

Yesterday, we finished shooting Rodrigo’s things.  In looking at our list, only one person remains.  John M’s case is being sent back from The Exploratorium, and there is a good chance that it will be in Albany by next week.  I went through a very emotional time some months ago while thinking about the shooting phase of the project ending.  I think what I will miss most is the impact of opening the cases and feeling a very real connection to these people who were patients at Willard.  The job of editing the photographs will be the next big push, and I am really looking forward to it.  I am a bit behind on uploading to the site, and am hoping to be able to devote several days a week to working on that.

Thanks for all the support and interest in the project, and especially to folks who are ordering prints from the site.  Cheers.

Last Tomato

Posted in fruits, tomato, vegetables by joncrispin on 23/10/2015

This is the last tomato of the season.  It was still not quite ripe when I picked it earlier this week, but it looks about ready to go.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Turner At The Clark

Posted in Art, galleries, museums by joncrispin on 21/10/2015

Cris and I took the afternoon off today and went to the Clark in Williamstown.  A lovely drive up Route 2.

There was only one Turner, but it was in a room of its own.  He is still my favorite.  There’s a ton of great Impressionist art in this private collection, especially Renoir and Monet.  Also a huge number of  Sargents, Homers, and Cassatts. It is really hard to believe that a family could amass this much amazing art, and it is so great that it is open to the public.

Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L’s Books (Update)

Posted in History, Mental Health, philippine history, psychiatric centers, suitcases by joncrispin on 14/10/2015

Rodrigo had quite a few books.  While shooting yesterday we came across several objects that he had pressed between pages.  This feather is breathtakingly beautiful, and I love the discoloration on the opposite page.

This moth was quite intact.

But the dragonfly had lost one of its wings.

This is a classic oak leaf.

This is the book from which these came.  Here is a link to some information about José Rizal.

Thanks for following.

My buddy Dhyan had some information about the insects.  Here’s what she says.  Thanks!

  • That is a butterfly not a moth.  Butterfly wings go up.  Moth wings lay flat on the back. 
  • You have no idea how much time I “lose” because I get interested in things you publish.  I think this butterfly may be a kind of fritillary.  See attached pictures.  The one in the book is pretty faded. I didn’t see anything “exactly” like it in google.
  • Also, I think, looking at the picture that all the dragonfly wings are actually there.  Dragonflies have two on each side and there are four wings in the picture.

Mass Pike / Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L / Rochester

Posted in Cities, driving, History, Mental Health, Rivers, Travel by joncrispin on 07/10/2015

I started the day very early driving west on the Mass Pike on my way to shoot suitcases.

We were able to learn quite a bit about Rodrigo from his papers.  He came to Salt Lake City from the Philippines to attend high school.

He was always active in Filipino organizations in the US.  After Salt Lake, he moved to Chicago for a time, then onto Buffalo before ending up at Willard.

I did a quick search for Herbert Ray Olmsted and found this on RootsWeb.

OLMSTEAD HERBERT R., Portrait enlargements and kindred lines of Art Work, 		
	studio and office 5 Delevan, h 11 Gaylord   (See adv

Love Herbert’s stylish handwriting.

I am in an EconoLodge in Brockport, NY on my way to meet some Erie Canal folks to spend tomorrow shooting the autumn inspection of some of the locks east of Buffalo.  Stopped in Rochester for a bite to eat just as the evening was arriving.

UMASS Women’s Soccer

Posted in football, penalty kicks, soccer, sports by joncrispin on 06/10/2015

I sometimes cover for my friend Thom Kendall who is the UMASS sports photographer.  He had two simultaneous events this afternoon, so he asked me to shoot the women’s soccer team photographs.  I know the wide angle kind of distorts the distance, but the ball is on the spot for a penalty kick.  After I took the photograph, I attempted the PK.  A total miss, but they were great sports.  But hey, with 26 goalies, who could score?

I feel so fortunate that my life as a photographer allows me to connect with such diverse organizations and people. There was so much life in these young women, and it was such a beautiful day.  It made me really happy to lark about with them before they got down to the hard work of practice and being students.

Willard Suitcases / Names

Posted in Asylums, History, institutionalization, Mental Health, patient's names, psych centers by joncrispin on 05/10/2015

 I am especially taken by the labels that we find in the suitcases.  These small bits of paper and string give us quite a bit of information about the patient as they were brought to Willard.  In this case, W (we only have an initial) S (not allowed to use her surname) came to the institution on 16 November 1938.  This is a rare case where the label is ripped, but even so, I have had to obscure part of her name.

I am aware that there is an active debate about this, but I come down firmly on the side that would have me able to include the patient’s full names with their possessions.  The reason I am forbidden from naming patients has to do with specific New York State law about the privacy of people who were wards of the state.  This law supersedes even the Federal HIIPA regulations, which state that 50 years after death, records are available to the public. In fact, many other states use full names in talking about former patients at asylums and psychiatric centers.  I won’t go into all the reasons why I feel it is respectful to name the suitcase owners, as I am not so good at putting this kind of argument in writing.  But someone contacted me last week who is really good at it.

Here is a link to a post on her site.  I am grateful for all the nice things she said about me, but I am especially pleased that she was able to put into words something that I think about often; which is how to show respect to people who at one time in their lives were patients at Willard.  So Nelly, thank you so much for your openness about your own situation and the clarity with which you expressed your feelings.  I really appreciate it.

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