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.
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.
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.
I made this corn chowder recipe tonight. Perfect for a cold Sunday. I always buy extra ears of sweet corn during the summer and freeze what we don’t eat for days like this. Very nice; give it a try sometime.
One of the great things about the suitcases project is hearing from people who find other work that is related to institutionalization. Charlie Seton sent me this link today. What an interesting project. Thanks Charlie. And my great buddy Hank who has been following the suitcases from the beginning sent this link about Letchworth Village in Rockland County. It is interesting to me that surnames are used on the commemorative plaque.
I know some of you know a lot about plants. I started seeing these guys in the early Autumn. I don’t think they are plants that lost their leaves; I am quite sure that this is the whole deal.
And I have discovered some new trails above the house. Before the snow last week I saw a few of these evergreen-like plants that I have never seen before. If any of you can help identify them, I would love to know.
Sorry the top is out of focus. I only had my phone with me and as this little guy was only a few inches long, there wasn’t much depth of field.
Wishing you all a great week, my dear online friends.
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.
Cris and I took the Olive up into the woods late this afternoon. Thanks to Sarah, Leonard, and SCJ (all readers of this blog) I think I can safely say that this is a ghost plant (aka Indian Pipe, monotropa uniflora, or monotropa hypopithys).
And there is no doubt this is a dirty yellow labrador retriever . It hasn’t rained much lately so the woods (is?) are full of lots of mud holes and very little running water. What is most amazing to me is that within an hour she is completely clean again.
And my lovely niece Heather just had another girl. On Sunday, we got to meet her while she was chillin’ with her big sister.
I am off to the UK on Thursday for some work and some fun. My great friend John Wilson just sent me this link to a wonderful article on lists. It is a great story. He’ll pick me up at Heathrow Friday morning and I can’t wait to see him.
There was a very nice mention of the suitcases project on PetaPixel yesterday. Thanks DL Cade!
Cristine, our friend Kate, and I drove to Salem today to see the J M W Turner exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum. It is amazing and worth the trip. No photos allowed in the gallery, but it is a very cool museum. Note the early Airstream trailer (lower right) that is part of the mid century LA exhibit.
The upcoming 10 days are going to be very hectic for me, so please be patient if I don’t respond directly to email. I’ll do my best.
I just spent the past four days shooting a project at the Pingry School in New Jersey. The days were very full, the work was great and since it was with my friends at the Herson Group, we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. / I have been photographing Peter Carroll jumping almost as long as I have known him (which is a very long time). And while I was living in Ithaca, I spent a lot of time photographing portable toilets, and had a very one sided postcard correspondence with The Portable Sanitation Association. These toilets were on the high end of comfort and I believe they were even air conditioned.
The spring is much further (farther?) along in New Jersey than it is in Massachusetts, and these dogwood blossoms were at their peak. Ours don’t even have leaves yet.
As I was driving through Springfield, the sky got really interesting and I pulled into a scenic area on the 91 to check out this beautiful rainbow. Not a great shot, but a lot of cars had stopped to watch it and there was a nice little collection of people taking in the scene. / Enjoy the weekend everyone.