Jon Crispin's Notebook

Elmira Prison / South Church

Posted in Architecture, Asylums, Buildings, Cities, Government, History, Newspapers, Willard Asylum by joncrispin on 18/11/2013

Craig Williams sent me a link to an article that ran in the Trumansburg, NY weekly paper, and I wanted to pass it along.  It is a very well thought out editorial on the potential closing of two Southern Tier psych centers (Willard is also mentioned).  Here is the link.  I thought of the above photo when the writer spoke about how the alternative to folks getting help in psych centers is to house them in prisons.  The above photo is from a project I did in the 1980s photographing early 20th Century New York State prisons.  This particular shot was taken in the Elmira Correctional Facility which would undoubtedly end up hosting some of the very people who would not be able to get treatment in the psych centers that are meant to close.  I accept that it is all very complicated, but some logical planning on the State’s part should be encouraged.

On a somewhat connected note, yesterday I photographed a very moving interfaith service at the South Church in Springfield called “Creating a Peace-Full City”.  There has been an awful spate of gun-related violence in Springfield this year, and many have come together to see if something positive could be done about it.  I had never been in this church before and it is stunning.

Elmira Correctional Facility + SF Meet-up?

Posted in Architecture, Buildings by joncrispin on 15/05/2013

One of the projects I did back in the 80s was a documentation of late 19th and early 20th century New York State prison architecture (funded by the New York State Council on the Arts).  I shot it all with my 4 x 5 Wista and it is nice to look at the photographs from time to time.  This shot at the Elmira Correctional Facility is the only one I took with evidence of a prisoner (note the guy’s hands on the lower left holding the mirror as he is checking me out).  The corrections people were super nice to me, although I am pretty sure they could not really grasp what I was up to.  If I remember correctly, this is one of the few NY State prisons with this traditional set up….just like in the movies!

I’ll be heading back out to San Francisco on Sunday for an Exploratorium event Monday evening.  Thinking about trying to get together with any of you who are interested.  Any ideas about a pub somewhere near the Embarcadero where we could hang out at the end of the day on Tuesday?  Shoot me an email if you have any ideas.

%d bloggers like this: