Jon Crispin's Notebook

White Lightning /Alex Ross

Posted in Friends, Jon Crispin, photography, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 23/05/2018

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I bought 3 Paul Buff White Lightning Ultra strobes sometime in the 80’s.  I always liked the company and Paul Buff designed them to last forever.  He was a really interesting fellow who started out on the West Coast doing recording and engineering work with Frank Zappa.  He saw a need in the photo industry to have a strobe system that was simple and powerful, so he moved to Nashville and started building these.  I still have my original 3 units, and they work fine.

At some point during the time I was shooting the suitcases my dear friend Alex Ross gave me 5 of his Ultra 1800’s, which are 3 times more powerful than my original set.  I used them for the majority of the project.  Yesterday, I pulled out one of them to do some quick shots and saw his somewhat cryptic notes on it.  It is never a bad idea to thank the people in your life who have made a continuous and positive impact.  I wouldn’t be the photographer that I am without Alex’s influence and support, and he might never really know just how much he means to me.  Thanks Ace.

Ford Thunderbird LX “Roadster”

Posted in Automobiles, ephemera, Friends, Jon Crispin, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 18/04/2018

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I have posted here and here about my interest in how American car companies choose to name special models of their cars.  It seems like this was really popular back in the 80s and 90s.

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This T-Bird belongs to our friends Suzan and Max, and they love this car!  They are grad students from the Netherlands and did what many Europeans do when buying a vehicle in the States; get some serious “Detroit Iron”.  I couldn’t find a specific reference to this Roadster model.  I’ll have to ask Max if this is the 6 or 8 cylinder, and what year it is.

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I really love the Thunderbird logo.  It looks very Southwestern.

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It appears in several places around the car.  None more beautiful than the one in the grille on the front bumper.

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I wouldn’t think those are real turquoise stones.

I tried to explain to Suzan that the term “roadster” doesn’t exactly fit this style of vehicle. This particular model is from the 10th generation of T-birds which were produced starting in 1989.

 

An Interesting Day or Two

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Yesterday I took the train from Stratford upon Avon to Marylebone London.  It was raining.

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I made it with plenty of time to spare to make the 5.30 kickoff for the Fulham v Derby County match (ended in a 1-1 draw, but still fun).

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After the match I walked back to my hotel past my favorite row of houses.  Most of them have these amazing stained glass doors.  Mind blowingly beautiful.

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This morning I had a bit of a plan that started in Bishop’s Park.

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I wanted to walk past the Cottage again.  Last night, I entered the ground through door 36.  Quite narrow.

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I really like these graphic tiles set into the pavements along the Thames Walk.  Especially the smell lines coming out of the poo.

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Next stop was The Dove in Hammersmith for a pint of ESB.  Nice

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I started inside in the tiny bar and then moved to the deck out back.

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Just before I got to my ultimate destination (next photo), I got a text from Cris at home telling me to call immediately.  This is why; a giant fookin’ tree had fallen on my Element, and had knocked over my Vespa.  I think the Element might just be toast, but the Vespa could be ok.  Kind of put a damper on things.

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Many years ago John Wilson surprised me at the end of a very long walk along the Thames with this view.

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Here is a closer look at the Naked Ladies of Twickenham.

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And another.

I made it back to the Dove for more beer and a Sunday roast.  Tomorrow I have some meetings with folks interested in the suitcase project.  V exciting.

Back in England

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My friend John Wilson picked me up at Heathrow on Monday morning.  After a jammed up drive to Stratford upon Avon on the M40, we made it in time for the dog’s evening walk.  Here he is with Violet, and Sid and Lilly.  Sid is a pup and Lilly wears a muzzle because twice now she has eaten small plastic balls that had to be removed surgically.

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The next morning we all went for a nice long walk on the Welcombe Hills.

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The obelisk off in the distance is very cool.

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These sheep were very interested in the dogs, but the dogs couldn’t be bothered.

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Here are Flora and Violet heading back to the car.

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And Sid taking a bit of a break while he kept an eye out for squirrels.

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Today was another warmish day so we drove to Broadway in the Cotswolds for another chance to walk the dogs.

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I first met John when I was living in Berlin in the 1980s and we have been fast friends ever since.   I have actually had this Barbour jacket (which he originally bought in Berlin) for the last 20 or so years.  He needed it back for his dog walks so it is now his again.  I hope to have it back someday.

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Here is Sid patiently waiting for a treat.

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I have always had a soft spot for Morgan cars.  This one is sitting in front of one of the Broadway hotels, and it took my breath away when I saw it.

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After our walk we ended up here for a lovely lunch.  We have come to the Snowshill Arms many times, and it always makes me so happy.

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While John was sorting out the dogs and Flora was getting Violet organized, I went in to see about a table.  John said “Four people and two dogs”.  Sid and Lilly were under the table the whole meal.  Here is Siddy giving me a nuzzle.  What a sweet boy.

Tom

Posted in Friends, Jon Crispin, People, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 08/05/2017

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I am sitting in a local coffee shop working on email and while looking out the window to see how much time I have left on my parking meter, I noticed my pal Tom Schack making a radical 5 point turn in the middle of Amity Street.  I grabbed my camera and took a quick photo before he went into the bank.  That is the Outer Stylie van in the background.

Have a great week, everyone.

Karma Congestion… (UPDATE)

©2016 Jon Crispin

…is a phrase my dear friend Alex Ross coined many years ago.  I think I have mentioned it here before.  We use it as a general catch-all to cover anything from mild creative block to what the Germans call Weltschmerz.  I have been somewhere in it for a while now.  I haven’t been posting much, but I have been shooting quite a bit and I wanted to put up a few shots here. / I was chastised by a Kathmandu policeman just after I shot this ↑.  The white kiosk in the middle of the intersection was put there this very day.  The old one was lying on its side on the corner beside me (and is quite possibly still there).

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I’ve been in and out of the New Haven train station a lot lately and have always liked these tunnels.

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Our friends Scott and Lisa very generously invite us to visit them on Block Island for a few days in July.  This was the view from their rental.  We had a lovely time.

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Olive is now just over 2 years old and is the most wonderful dog. My pal Peter Carroll took this picture.

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These two big stones are in the empty lot next to the house on Ensenada Drive in Woodland Hills, CA where Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band recorded “Trout Mask Replica”.  I was going to take a photo of the house, but it is a private residence now and I didn’t want to bother the current occupants.  I had a friend in college by the name of Greg Trout whose granny gave him a copy of the album for his birthday.  The only reason she bought it for him was that his surname was in the title.  When I first heard it, it seemed beyond unlistenable.  Now it is one of my most favorite records.  Beefheart was a genius.  Click on this only if you are open to weirdness.

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My brother-in law John is also a huge Beefheart fan.  He was up for the excursion to Woodland Hills especially if it involved a stop at Musso and Frank is Hollywood.  John is totally amazing and so much fun to be with.  He was raised in Southern California and  his knowledge of the area is staggering.

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He grew up in Palos Verdes and gave us a tour on a lovely Sunday morning.  This is a detail of a fountain  that is in the center of town.

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Here is John and Lynne’s dog Scooter.  He is a mischievous sweetie.

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Cris and I always go to Huntington Beach when we are in California.  The summer program for future lifeguards was happening as we were there.  There was a wide range of ages of the kids, and it was way cool to see all of the participants in their red suits and colorful caps.

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The older kids paddled out beyone the end of the pier and back.  It looked exhausting.

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The US Open of Surfing was happening the same day and the pier was jammed with people.

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We also usually make it out to the Huntington Library in Pasadena,

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mostly just for the chance to see Gainsborough’s Blue Boy.  It never gets old.

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Peter was visiting from DC last week, and we made our annual trip to Essex to eat  fried clams at Farnham’s.  It was a beautiful day and the view from the picnic tables can not be beat.

Thanks for following and for giving me the opportunity to unclog some of that karma congestion.  I think it worked.  Cheers.

UPDATE.  This is indicative of how spaced out I am, but the picture of Olive was taken by Peter Carroll.  It is the best photograph of her ever, and he totally deserves the credit.  Sorry Pete!

Design Observer / Jessica Helfand

 

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Very shortly after the first Willard Suitcases kickstarter went up I received an email from Jessica Helfand expressing her interest in the project.  She soon invited me down to New Haven to speak to her Yale freshman seminar class, “Studies in Visual Biography”.  Here is a post I did just after that first visit.  I have subsequently been to her class on several other occasions and it is always very stimulating and fun.

As well as teaching at Yale, Jessica and her late husband Bill Drenttel created Design Observer, which is a fantastic website devoted to creativity and design.  That description doesn’t do it justice though, as it is so much more than that.  It is really worth checking out on a regular basis.  In addition to the site, Design Observer recently started publishing a quarterly magazine.  The second issue is just out, and they included a huge spread on the suitcases.  I am just so honored to be a part of the issue, and it looks great.  Here is a link to purchase it, and I would really recommend all of you interested in the project to do so.  It includes many suitcase photographs that haven’t been published before.  Special thanks go to  Eugenia Bell, who did a great job selecting the images, and making sure it all came together.  She was a joy to work with.

As we were saying goodbye after that first class at Yale, Jessica reached out, hugged me and said “We’re friends now!”  It was a most touching gesture and I have rarely felt so quickly welcomed into someone’s life.  She has been a massive supporter of the project who has helped me in so many ways, and I am very fortunate to be her friend.

Herman

Posted in Friends, photography, Uncategorized, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 10/02/2016

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Working my way home today, but I got to see my good friend Herman this morning on Elizabeth Street.  I think he just got this new hat.

Big thanks to Judy Berde at the Roosevelt Island Historical Society for inviting me to speak about the suitcases.  We had a great crowd with lots of interesting questions.  And a note to any of you who are involved in organizations that might like to sponsor a talk.  I am starting to travel quite a bit and really look forward to presenting the project.  Next Wednesday the 17th, I be talking about some of my other work to the Schenectady Photographic Society.  If you live in the Albany area, stop by.

Peter Carroll

Posted in Friends by joncrispin on 24/04/2015

I am in Ithaca to shoot part of the big Cornell 150th celebration and am staying with my pal Peter Carroll.  I like this photograph of him. / It was snowing yesterday when I arrived, and is cold and cloudy today. C,mon Spring!

Elli Carroll

Posted in Friends by joncrispin on 04/04/2015

I am in DC for a few days.  Yesterday I hung out with my friend Peter Carroll and his brother Alan while they sorted through their late mom Elli’s photographs.  Peter is doing a bit of an imitation of Elli’s friend Giancarlo, who featured in quite a few of the photos.  Here is a link from the Holocaust Museum that talks about Elli’s life.  She was a wonderful and fascinating person and I always enjoyed seeing her, and from time to time going to lunch at The Pines of Rome in Bethesda.

In recent years, Elli lived at the Westchester.  It is a beautiful pre-war complex not far from the Cathedral, with amazing details like this peep hole in the door.

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