Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / Dorrit Harazim Book

O instante certo

Several months ago I was contacted by the Brazilian publisher Compania Das Letras about the suitcases project being included in a book by Dorrit Harazim.  They have been really great to deal with, but I wasn’t entirely clear about the nature of the project.  When I got back from Nepal, a copy was waiting for me in my post office box.  It seems to be a collection of essays about photographs (it is in Portuguese so I am not sure), and I was amazed to see the other photographers that were included.  Several Magnum photographers are involved along with Gordon Parks and Vivian Maier and some other illustrious names.  I am thrilled an honored to be a part of it.  “O instante certo” translated roughly to “the right moment”.  It is available through Amazon, so if you read Portuguese it might be nice to get a copy.

viagens sem volta

The article on the suitcases translates to “travel without return”.  I would be happy if the book  was translated into English at some point, but in the meantime, I’ll ask for a pdf and plug it into google translate.

Design Observer / Jessica Helfand


design observer

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.

Andre Dubus III

Posted in People, Published work, Writers by joncrispin on 22/10/2013

I received my preview copy of the latest Poets & Writers in the mail today.  They chose a really nice photo of Andre Dubus III for the article ↓.  There is no online link to the story yet, but they will probably put one up once the magazine has been on the newsstands for a while.  Check it out!

He is on a book tour to promote “Dirty Love”, and I was able to say hi last week when he gave a reading at Politics and Prose in DC.

Neil Gaiman / Poets & Writers

Posted in Published work, Work by joncrispin on 09/07/2013

I mentioned a few months ago that I photographed Neil Gaiman for Poets & Writers Magazine.  The issue is on the newsstands now.

It was a great shoot and he is an amazing guy.  I don’t think I have ever photographed anyone who is so comfortable with a camera pointed at him.  He really made my job easy.

Yesterday, BBC Radio 4 started his latest, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” for “Book at Bedtime” and I listened to the first installment on my way back from shooting suitcases in Rotterdam.  I am pretty sure it is available to hear online and with Michael Sheen reading it is really gripping.

Thanks to Murray at P&W for the assignment.  Great fun.

Old House Journal Story

Posted in Architecture, Jon Crispin, Published work, Work by joncrispin on 14/05/2013

The current issue of the Old House Journal (June/July 2013) has a story that I shot a few months ago.  Kerry Baldridge  is restoring a house in Exeter, NH and the shoot was lots of fun.  Here’s a link to the online version.  Her blog is great and for those of you who live in old houses it is worth checking out.  Scroll down to the bottom of the Old House online page for the link.

London Bits and Pieces

Posted in ephemera, Family, Government, History, Jon Crispin, People, Published work, Travel by joncrispin on 09/04/2013

I  always try to be positive when I post here, so I will not say much on the death of Margaret Thatcher.  But here is a link to a great song.  This photograph was taken on 11 November, 1980 on Remembrance Day.  It used to be possible to get pretty close to Number 10.

As I was going through my contact sheets I came across a couple of other shots I have been meaning to post here.

I think this is the English footballer Kevin Keegan outside of Buckingham Palace on 9 November,1982, the day he received his OBE from the Queen.  Anyone out there who can correct me?

And finally, this shot.


This photographed has always gotten to me.  I  have a framed copy above my desk here in my studio.  I was walking through Victoria Station in November of 1983 and saw this child, with an adult who I assume is his father.  A month later the IRA set off a bomb outside of Harrods that killed six and injured 90.  I am not sure why I put the two events together, but the connection of toy guns and real violence seems reasonable to me.

American Society of Picture Professionals

Posted in Asylums, Published work, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 04/04/2013

In March I was contacted by Jain Lemos from the ASPP.

She had seen the Salon piece on the suitcases just as she was putting the finishing touches on the latest issue of their quarterly magazine.  Jain knew that it would be very last minute, but we managed to select images and I wrote 400 words about the project.  I loved her idea of featuring the preservation of the suitcases and contents, especially how the New York State Museum spent so much time and care on the cataloging and conservation aspect.  Yesterday I received a few copies directly from the printer and the story looks great.  They used a cropped shot of the glycerine bottle on the contents page, and as you can see above, eight shots were used in the spread.  The magazine is available only to members, but the story should be up online in a month or so.  It is a really great organization and not just for photographers; many members are picture editors and others who work directly with images in other ways.  If you work with images in any way, it might be a good idea to check them out.

Joel Lamstein in NYT

Posted in Music, People, Published work by joncrispin on 28/08/2011

I used to do quite a bit of work for the New York Times.  I started shooting for them when Carlo Mastricolo was one of the assignment editors and I was living in Ithaca.  When I moved to the City, I continued doing freelance work for them and when I ended up in Massachusetts, they still called on me from time to time.  I think the last job I shot for them was James Taylor at his house in the Berkshires.

James Taylor

Yesterday I got an email from Penelope Riseborough at World Education saying that Joel Lamstein was being featured in today’s business section.  The Times used a picture of Joel I took some years ago that I have always liked.  He is an amazing guy and as Cris worked for him for almost 20 years, we have gotten to know him pretty well. / It was nice to see my name in the paper again after all these years.  Here is a link to the article.

Clingstone story in Old House Journal

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Construction, History, Landscape, Published work, Water by joncrispin on 07/03/2011

The Old House Journal with the Clingstone story is on the newsstands.  It is the May 2011 issue.  Click here to see the online version.  Please click on the photos to see them in a pop-out window.  And keep in mind that the volunteer weekend is coming up .  It is a blast.

Clingstone 2

Posted in Buildings, History, Published work, Windows by joncrispin on 21/11/2010


I finished the Clingstone shoot for Old House Journal and delivered it at the end of the week.  The article will hit the newsstands in early March and should be worth a look.  The annual volunteer weekend is sometime around the Memorial Day weekend, and anyone who wants to help out is usually welcome.

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