Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / Beginning Margaret D

20150203,081wp

I have finished editing everything we shot in 2014 and have finally moved on to 2015.  Margaret D came to Willard with pretty much her entire household, including her car.  I have posted about her before, including this link which talks a bit about her life before Willard.

20150203,071wp

She was a nurse who lived in the Ithaca area, and came to the institution with a number of highly starched uniforms and hats.

20150203,067wp

Peg and I shot this trunk in February of 2014 and we finished photographing all of her possessions 4 months later.  Quite a collection.

20150203,062wp

I will continue to post updates here as I work my way through all of Margaret’s things.

20150203,046wp

It is exciting to think about completing the editing process on the project.  Once my schedule opens up I’ll be able to really push exhibits and publication.  Thanks for following, and to those of you who have been in direct contact I really appreciate the feedback.

Willard Suitcases / Michael D’A

20141202,101wp

It was clear to us when we were setting up Michael’s shot that the wrapping contained crutches.

20141202,108wp

They were in remarkable shape for being so old.

20141202,120wp

Michael came to Willard from Manhattan State Hospital on Ward’s Island, but unfortunately we don’t have a date for his admittance.

20141202,116wp

As I was editing the photographs this morning, I couldn’t remember precisely why I took the closeup shot below.

20141202,129wp

As I looked closely the faint marks on the crutch stood out.  I wonder if he was making them in order to count days at Ward’s Island before he came to Willard.

You can see the latest here.  Thanks for following.

Willard Suitcases / Joseph A #3

20141121,059wp

It took a while, but I finally finished editing Joseph’s two trunks.  Peg and I worked on them on two different days, three weeks apart and the photos did not end up in a logical sequence.  It took me a while to organize them for the suitcases site.

20141121,040wp

Setting up and shooting cases containing lots of clothes presented challenges.  We always strove to make the arrangements look natural, but I in particular dreaded the days where all we had to work with was clothing.

20141121,047wp

Another shout out to Peggy Ross here.  The museum had individually conserved each item and assigned it a unique catalogue number.  In instances of larger collections like Joseph’s, the items were stored not in the cases themselves, but in archival museum boxes.  Peg was instrumental in helping with the setup by unwrapping each piece and making notes about the box from which the items came, then helping me lay them out.

20141121,070wp

I would then make a number of wide shots, and finally move in for the details.  Once the arrangement was in place, I rarely if ever moved the objects around.  I’m not sure why, but it was important to me to maintain the integrity of the original setup.  Once I finished shooting, Peg would rewrap each item in the original conservation material and return it back into the museum storage boxes.  In retrospect it is not surprising that it took  us over five years to shoot all the cases, and that it is taking me another two years to edit everything.  I am making great progress though.

I would also mention that the clothing photographs are now among my favorites.

Thanks for following.  If you want to see all of the photos from Joseph’s cases, click this link.  Don’t forget to click on the “view all” button.  The default setting only shows the first 25 images.

 

Willard Suitcases / Joseph A’s Wife

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that Joseph had two trunks in the collection and that one of them contained his wife’s clothes.

20141028,121wp

An aspect of this project that I find most interesting is to do with questions that arise from looking at the possessions of the patients.  We know from yesterday’s post that Joseph’s trunks arrived more than a year after he was admitted.  The fact that so much of his wife’s clothing was sent to him makes me wonder if she was alive for part of that year, or if she had died before August of 1945 when he was admitted.  Did her death have something to do with his troubles?  Who sent the trunks to Willard over a year after he became a patient?

20141028,156wp

There are, of course, answers to most of these questions.  They are in the patient records that are housed in the New York State Archives.  Due to state law and the policies of the State Office of Mental Health, almost no one (including the descendants of Willard patients) has access to these documents.

Early on in the project, I came to realize that my photographs could encourage viewers to think about the residents of Willard in a manner that went beyond their diagnoses.  In most ways, the official records are not relevant to my feelings about the 400+ people whose cases are in the collection.  As I continue to edit the images, my connection to the patients and staff at Willard continues to grow.

20141028,119wp

Peg Ross and I came across numerous small doggies as we were shooting the suitcases.  This one is particularly cute.

I’ll have more to post tomorrow.  Cheers all.

Willard Suitcases / Joseph A

This week I have begun editing Joseph A’s two trunks.  I expect it will take quite a while to get through all the photographs, as one trunk contains a ton of his clothing and the other is full of his wife’s possessions. I hope to post daily as I work through the collection.

20141028,077wp

I don’t believe I have posted an inventory before.  This one appears to have been put together by Willard employee M. McCarry; you can see her name on the bottom right.  Joseph was admitted in August of 1945, but it seems his trunks did not arrive at Willard until April of 1946.  Some of the annotations are interesting, especially the notes that indicate that some of the clothing was with him on the ward.

I won’t be uploading the entire collection for several days, but will hope to post a few photos from it daily.  Thanks for following.

Nixon Library

Posted in History, Jon Crispin, museums, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 27/06/2017

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, CA opened shortly after Cris and I got together.  Her mom, Dorothy Smith, was one of the early employees and worked at the ticket desk and on occasion, the gift shop.  (We have an amazing set of Camp David whiskey glasses thanks to her.)

Nixon Library

 We hadn’t visited in over 20 years and thought it might be time to check it out again.  (And it is not too far from the In-N-Out in Fullerton.)  My memories of it were quite positive, as I thought it told Nixon’s story in an objective and realistic manner.

The hallway above leads to a reproduction of the East Room where he gave his farewell speech to his staff.

Nixon Library

The exhibits provide a good sense of context about what was going on in the sixties.

Nixon Library

Here he is in all his glory.  This is such an iconic photograph.  I always thought that the “Nixon’s The One” slogan left a lot of room for ambiguity.  I like how LBJ appears to be  giving him the hairy eyeball in this shot.

Nixon Library

Great examples of Nixon election ephemera are spread throughout the museum.  What is up with the “Protest! and Win! with Nixon”?

Nixon Library

Here I am sitting at a recreation of Nixon’s desk in the fake oval office.  This is kind of funny for me.  My childhood friend Mike Hogan’s uncle, Vice Admiral Robert Bruce Brown was the Surgeon General of the Navy and lived at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.  Mike and I used to visit in the summer and Admiral Brown once took us to the White House for a tour.  One of his best friends was LBJ’s physician and we got the whole behind the scene look.  LBJ was out of town, but we saw his beagles Him and Her.  Later, as we walked past the Oval Office we were asked if we wanted to sit at the desk, which of course we did.  Still wish I had photographic evidence of that occasion.

Nixon Library

Here are some more great buttons.  Right on, Mister President!

Nixon Library

An entire section of the museum is dedicated to the Viet Nam war.

Nixon Library

Including a giant pile of correspondence from people both opposed to, and in favor of the war.

Nixon Library

Here’s the Colt .45 that Elvis gave to Nixon.  There is an amazing and totally bizarre story behind this gift.  Totally Elvis!

Nixon Library

These fake balloons are meant to be from the convention after he accepted the nomination (for the second time, I think).

Nixon Library

I had completely forgotten what a total ass kicking McGovern got in 1972.  This map pretty much says it all.  I was so bummed on election night after having driven from Springfield, Ohio to Meadville just to vote for George.  I am pretty sure I got totally wasted that night.

Nixon Library

But then came Watergate.  I wonder if the White House phone number is still 202 456 1414.  I like the special buttons for Chapin, Haldeman, and Rosemary Woods.  “Hey Rosemary, can you erase some of that tape for me?”

Nixon Library

“Sure Mr. President, no problemo”

Nixon Library

And let’s throw in some dirty tricks too!

Nixon Library

There are some very good recordings of the taping system for all to hear.  And if you are a researcher, the library component of the facility has the entire collection.  Amazing.

Nixon Library

There is something about this photo of Bork.  It reminds me of a promotional still from a bad 1970s era TV show.  After both Richardson and Ruckelshaus resigned instead of carrying out the order to fire Cox, Bork carried it out.  I think it must be one reason the long knives came out when he was nominated to the Supreme Court.  The political world hasn’t really been the same since.

Nixon Library

There are a few more cool exhibits toward the end of the walk-through.  Here is Cris hangin’ with Pat and Dick at the Rose Parade.

Nixon Library

I like this life size cutout in front of the door of his first law firm.

Nixon Library

The gardens are really beautiful.  Off in the distance is the house where Nixon and his brothers were born.  When Cris and I were first together in Placentia, we used to drive over to see it before the site became a museum.  It was then occupied by the custodian of the elementary school (now gone) where Cris got her polio vaccine sugar cube. It had a sign on it that said “Private Residence”.  It is amazing that most of the furniture inside now is original to the family and to the house.

Nixon Library

You can also go into the actual helicopter that flew him from the White House lawn when he resigned, although it was closed when we were there due to the heat.

  Thanks for following, and making it to the end of this long post.  More suitcases soon.

Baseball / A Different Huntington

Posted in Baseball, Beaches, Jon Crispin, Nature, ocean, stadiums, Uncategorized, waves by joncrispin on 19/06/2017

20170618,001wp

Something is going on out on the mound.  The Angels lost to Kansas City yesterday, but it was a nice day for baseball.

20170619,003wp

It seems my two current favorite places in Southern California have Huntington in their names.  This is the pier at Huntington Beach.  It was just past noon today when I took this, and the morning haze had not yet burned off.  A lovely, cool day to walk on the beach.

Huntington Library

Posted in Art, Fish, Jon Crispin, museums, Trees, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 17/06/2017

20170616,007wp

I was back at The Huntington yesterday for my annual visit to the Blue Boy.  It is breathtaking.  It’s quite impossible to look at a reproduction and get any sense of just how amazing this painting is in person.

20170616,005wp

At the opposite end of the gallery is this painting by Thomas Lawrence which is commonly referred to as “Pinkie”.  I had never really paid much attention to her, but it is pretty easy to get lost in gazing at it.

20170617,004wp

It was very hot yesterday so I didn’t walk around the gardens for long.  There are lots of ginkgo trees on the grounds.  I grew up with one in my side yard in Meadville and clearly remember climbing it as a boy.  It was the only one I ever saw as a kid, and is still my favorite tree.

20170617,002wp

As I walked over a little bridge in the Japanese garden, these guys showed up thinking I might feed them.  Sorry I couldn’t oblige.

Pink Lady Slipper / Update

Posted in Jon Crispin, Orchids, Plants, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 09/06/2017

20170609,019wp

The pink lady slipper presence in the woods beside our house is very slim this year. I could only find 6 or 7, whereas in previous years there have been hundreds.  I’m glad a few were waiting on our return from Nepal.

I was given good news from my local ophthalmologist on Tuesday.  Dr Pratap’s work was successful; both tears are fixed and the floaters are beginning to resolve.  Thanks to those of you who reached out with your sympathy and concern.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Dogs / Thanks / Home

Posted in Animals, Dogs, Jon Crispin, Travel, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 05/06/2017

20170602,083wp

I walked Cris to the World Ed office every morning, and back to the hotel at the end of the day.  Kathmandu has a lot of street dogs, most of whom don’t seem attached to any particular person, although the ones we  regularly saw were in the same areas every day.  You would never want to try to pet them, and they mostly ignore you anyway.  We got used to seeing this pup twice a day near a shop, and she was one of the few leashed dogs that we encountered.  She clearly belonged to someone who cared for her.

Thanks to everyone who passed along good wishes in regards to my eye thing.  I really appreciate it.  We are home now and I see my retina guy tomorrow morning; I am really eager to see what he has to say.  The huge black blob is beginning to resolve a bit, which is encouraging.

More suitcase uploads coming soon.  Thanks for following.

%d bloggers like this: