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.

Olive

Olive20180224wp

Today was a nice and grey day and after editing some suitcase photos and watching Fulham beat Wolves, Olive and I headed up into the woods.  I have never seen a winter with so much water, and it was really wet with small rivulets running all over the place.  Olive was in her element.  She carried that birch log that is in front of her for most of the walk.

red funguswp

It is always a bit surprising to see something so colorful in the middle of winter.  With all this water, it might just be a good year for mushrooming.

I wanted to do this post for Patty, who follows this site and recently asked for more pictures of the Olive.  It’s probably a good time to mention that if you want to see more of her, I post on instagram as jonkcrispin.  It is a nice outlet for me to put up photographs that I take with my phone.  So check it out, and thanks for following.

Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L Final

Willard Suitcases
Rodrigo L.

This morning I uploaded the last of the photographs of Rodrigo’s possessions.  His cases were really interesting and you can check them all out here.

Willard Suitcases
Rodrigo L.

Rodrigo maintained a strong connection his native Philippines, and also had an interesting collection of books.

Willard Suitcases
Rodrigo L.

There were several items pressed between the pages of a few of them.

Willard Suitcases
Rodrigo L.

This hat was pretty cool and the white object at the bottom seems to be shark’s teeth strung together into some sort of necklace.

Willard Suitcases
Rodrigo L.

Peg and I shot our last suitcase on Monday the 9th of November 2015.  I will be editing that work in a day or two, and that will be it as far as what was in the New York State Museum collection.  Craig Williams seems to remember that there are a few cases that never went to the Museum that are in the Romulus Historical Society.  If so, we’ll try to track those down and photograph them.  I photographed the first case (Freda B) on the 17th of March 2011, and this has been quite an amazing ride.  I just want to thank all of you who follow the project for all the good wishes, support, and interest.  Now that the editing is just about done, I’ll be spending much of my time moving on to the next stage.  I’ll also take a minute to thank Peggy Ross again for her continued help.  I couldn’t have done this without her.

Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L again

Willard Suitcases
Rodrigo L

I am back to editing more of Rodrigo L’s papers.  This is an amazing photo postcard. / Rodrigo lived in Salt Lake City during his high school years.  Many of his yearbooks are in his collection as well as a ton of materials related to his Pilipino experience in the US .

Willard Suitcases
Rodrigo L

He came to the American West sometime in the early part of the 20th Century, which makes me wonder what his experience adapting to his new life was like.

Willard Suitcases
Rodrigo L

You can check out the latest at the suitcases site.

I have just three more shoots to edit.  I have a feeling that when I finish that part of the project I will be very emotional and a little bit at sea.  Still lots to do though, including finding a publisher and museums / galleries for exhibits.  I started shooting the cases in March of 2011.  It has been quite a run.  Thanks for following.

Willard Suitcases / Madeline C

Willard Suitcases
Madeline C

I have posted about Madeline before and her possessions represent a very interesting life before she came to Willard.

Willard Suitcases
Madeline C

Throughout this project I have consciously tried to avoid obvious links between the objects in the collection and any sort of connection to being institutionalized, but  I found it interesting that this was the only recording among Madeline’s things.

Willard Suitcases
Madeline C

She came to Willard with a fairly complete record of her life in New York City, including her time studying at Columbia University and Hunter College.

Willard Suitcases
Madeline C

She seemed to be interested in philosophy.  There were quite a few references to Bergson in her papers.

Willard Suitcases
Madeline C

Her handwriting was really lovely.

Willard Suitcases
Madeline C

Her diaries were especially complete.

Willard Suitcases
Madeline C

I searched online for this poem thinking that she might have copied it as an exercise in writing in English (her first language was French), but nothing turned up.

Willard Suitcases
Madeline C

In any event, it is an incredible piece of writing.

Willard Suitcases 
Madeline C

It is especially interesting how well her life was documented in photographs, and that most of the images also had their original negatives.  Looking at the dates in her diaries, many of these were taken in the 1920s.

Willard Suitcases 
Madeline C

The fox stole around her neck in the picture on the right is something that one doesn’t see anymore.

Willard Suitcases 
Madeline C

I have stayed in the Prince George Hotel on W. 27th Street twice in my life.  Once in high school with my friends Jay, Jeff, and Dennis.  That was an interesting trip!  And once sometime in the 80s shortly before it became an SRO.  Quite interesting as well.

You can check out the photos of Madeline’s cases at the Willard Suitcases site.  Click on “The Cases”, scroll to the bottom and click on Madeline C.  Be sure to click “view all” as there are many more than 25 images.  The site was hacked into recently and everything seems to be sorted now.  Huge thanks to Steve Fox at Born Digital Web Design for getting it fixed.  He’s the man if you need a photo site set up.

Willard Suitcases / UTMB / Otters

Posted in Animals, Asylums, Jon Crispin, Nature, Uncategorized, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 23/01/2018

oslerbogwp

Well, this is quite amazing.  I had an incredible week in Galveston, which was capped off by a lovely dinner with the resident Osler Scholars, after which this lovely bust of Dr. William Osler was presented to me .  I have never in my life as a photographer felt so respected and acknowledged.  I spent the week talking about the suitcases in a variety of venues and was able to hear so many interesting comments on the collection.  It is difficult for me to say how important this week was to me, but it was such a positive, affirming experience that I am at a bit of a loss for words.  Huge thanks to Dr. Dwight Wolf and Rosemary Lindley for everything they have done to support the project.

riverotters2wp

Before coming home, Cris and I took the time to go out to Moody Gardens.  It was so cool to see these giant river otters.

Back home now and trying to decompress from an intense week.  A little stressed today as it seems the willardsuitcases.com site is having problems.  I have been on the phone most of the day trying to get it sorted.  The link above still is still functional but if you just type in the regular url it is broken.  Arrrrgh.  Hope to get it sorted soon.

Willard Suitcases / Madeline C / UTMB

Willard Suitcases Project
Madeline C

I apologize for the long gap in posting about the suitcases.  It has been an incredibly busy time.  I have been devoting most of my mental energy getting prepared for a series of talks at the University of Texas Medical Branch that are scheduled for next week.  This is a huge honor for me, as I will be a visiting Osler scholar.  When I was in Galveston in 2016 presenting to NAMI Gulfcoast I was approached by Dr. Dwight Wolf about returning to speak at UT to the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences department.  Cristine and I fly out on Sunday (weather dependent), and there are events scheduled for the whole week.

Here is a rundown.

Monday the 15th – I’ll be speaking about the suitcases and my other work at the Galveston Arts Center from 6-8 pm.

Tuesday the 16th – Osler Club Grand Rounds, Temple B’nai Israel, 3008 Avenue O, Galveston.  I believe this is open to the public but reservations are required.

Earlier that day I will present the project to residents at UTMB.  This is not open to the public.

Wednesday the 17th – IMH Colloquium at UTMB during the lunch hour.  Jennie Sealy Hospital.  This might be open to the public, I’m not sure.

That evening I’ll be speaking at the Galveston Historical Foundation about the suitcases and my other documentary institutional work.  6-7 pm at Menard Hall, 3302 Avenue O, Galveston.

Thursday the 18th – There is an open mic event with Dr. Steve Fisher with a display of photographs of both of our work.  Dr. Fisher has been photographing the collection of medical specimens at UTMB.  Should be interesting.  3rd Floor Old Red.  I’ve been told it is an amazing building.

That’s it for now.  Thanks for following.

Beach Snow / Jellyfish

Posted in atlantic ocean, Beaches, Cnidarians, Dogs, Jon Crispin, Labrador Retrievers, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 05/01/2018

20180105,003wp

It is easy to see where the high tide line is here.

20180105,004wp

There were several of these interesting gelatinous creatures that had been washed up on the beach.

20180105,005wp

I want to call them jellyfish, but I’m not sure.  They might fit into the cnidaria phylum, but I would appreciate anyone who could tell me what they are.

20180105,006wp

I love looking at the patterns that form when the tide is going out.  This could be a photo taken from 20,000 feet, even though it isn’t.

Snow in Coastal Carolina

Posted in Jon Crispin, Uncategorized, Weather by joncrispin on 03/01/2018

kiawahsnowwp

It was strangely beautiful here today.  Rain then freezing rain then sleet then snow.  At least a couple of inches on the ground.  We didn’t make it to the beach today and the Olive is getting a bit eager to go for a swim.  It will be a tad warmer tomorrow with sunshine.

Tagged with: ,

New Year’s Day 2018

Posted in Beaches, Jon Crispin, Uncategorized, waves, Weather by joncrispin on 01/01/2018

polarbearkiawahwp

Wishing you all a happy and productive 2018.  Thanks for following this silly little blog.

This is the annual Polar Bear Plunge on the island.  It takes a special kind of person to run into the Atlantic when the outside temperature is 30 degrees.

%d bloggers like this: