Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / Editing

Freda B Willard Suitcase

This was the first case I photographed.  It was the 17th of March 2011.  Craig Williams had given me permission to gain access to the collection and I was very excited.  I remember setting up my wrinkled background and fiddling with my lights.  It struck me at the time that it would be interesting to document the entire process of shooting the cases, including what they looked like after the museum had wrapped them back up after the conservation process.

This is part of what I saw when I finally got the case open.  Quite a way to start the project.  This is what I posted about that first day.

Today at about 2.30 I finished editing all of the cases that we have shot, and uploaded the final photographs to the suitcases site.  This case belonge to Lawrence R.  I especially like the headline in the Democrat and Chronicle.

This day has been a long time in coming.  We will see what happens with the project in the fullness of time, but I am very excited and happy to have made it this far.

Connie Houde was kind enough to take this picture of Peg and me on that last day of shooting.  I think champagne might have been involved.

There are too many folks to thank for all of the support, encouragement, and love that I have felt since I began photographing the suitcases in 2011.  But I think of you all the time.  Thank you all.

8 Responses

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  1. Wanda said, on 28/02/2018 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Jon. I look forward to seeing the photos! When I clicked on the link above in your post, I got a bunch of strange characters and no photos. Wanda

  2. laurachessin said, on 28/02/2018 at 5:36 pm

    Did you really document them all? You look awesome. It’s inspiring to see your commitment to this project.

    • joncrispin said, on 02/03/2018 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Laura, Thanks. Yep, I shot every case in the collection. An amazing journey. Now I will be starting to contact folks about exhibits/talks/publishers. I’d love to come to Richmond. Let’s talk sometime. Thanks for following. Jon

  3. Doris said, on 28/02/2018 at 9:33 pm

    Jon, you truly have a gift. I love looking at the photographs,your thoughts and am amazed about how everything was documented and preserved at the “hospital”. It leaves a lot to the imagination to wonder about “The Lives they Left Behind” (a book about some of the residents I have read) and it breaks my heart to think about the way many of them seemed to have been forgotten. Thank you for sharing this with us and God Bless!

    • joncrispin said, on 02/03/2018 at 2:31 pm

      Doris, such kind words and thank you for the encouragement. It means so much to me that you took the time to write. All best, jon

  4. Maureen Mckovich said, on 01/03/2018 at 12:14 am

    Thank you, Jon! This has been an amazing journey.

  5. Barbara said, on 20/03/2018 at 11:50 am

    A huge, heartfelt thank you to you and Peg for all your love and dedication to this endeavor. You have touched so many by your work and I for one am extremely grateful to be able to view it. Many, many thanks!

    • joncrispin said, on 26/03/2018 at 10:27 am

      Dear Barbara, thanks so much for following and for appreciating our work. It has been an amazing ride, and I feel so close to the folks I have connected with through the project. (Not the least of whom are the suitcase owners themselves.) Wishing you all best and please keep in touch. I am feeling a bit slow on flogging the project to galleries/museums/publishers, but after editing for so long I think I need a mental break for a bit. Also, like most people, I hate rejection and know that part of the promotion of the work will not pan out. I just have to get over that. I can’t remember if I have done this before, but if you send me a mailing address through email, I’ll send you some postcards. Cheers, Jon


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