Jon Crispin's Notebook

Trip to Central New York

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This past Wednesday my pal Craig Williams hired me to take some photographs of the old Lock 52 in Port Byron, NY.  It is now an historic site with a great visitor center (open seasonally).

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The entrance to the site is off the New York State Thruway and is really interesting and well worth a stop if you are driving East.

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These limestone blocks are enormous.

Craig had me photographing some views to match historic photographs of the lock when it was still in use.  We worked for a bit before lunch which was at a really great diner in Port Byron.  I sat facing this flag, which I had seen before but never understood.

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Here is the text from the card above the stars. “This is a police flag.  Each strip on the emblem represents certain respective figures.  The blue center line represents law enforcement, the top black stripes represents the public, the bottom black stripes represents the criminals.”  I hesitate to be negative here, but as someone who is really interested in design as a way of conveying ideas, this seems completely wacky to me. / Great lunch though, fine diner with nice people.

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I am really digging this fish display on the wall above our table.  Award winning!

At lunch Craig mentioned that Brigham Young lived in Port Byron before heading west and that his house was still standing but in rough shape.  Some work was started on a restoration, but due to poor health of the two contractors, it was stopped.

Port Byron Historic Lock #52

The plaque on the door reads “This wood frame house built by James Pine circa 1818 and later occupied by Brigham Young and family.  Young’s first child a girl named Elizabeth, born here September 1825.”  Given the Mormon’s interest in history and genealogy, I was shocked to see this property is such a state of neglect and apparent disinterest by the church.

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A restored tavern is on part of the historic canal site.  These bottles sit atop the bar, which is partly original.  It seems rye whiskey was seriously popular in the 19th century. / After Port Byron I drove down to Ithaca to spend the night with my friends Brad and Tania.

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Their house is filled with great things including tons of Fiestaware.

A trip to Ithaca is never complete without a visit to the Lincoln Street Diner.

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Peter had just received the latest OSMO camera and we got the chance to goof around with it.

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Very cool.

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Lookin’ good Sport!

Thanks for following.  Happy Holidays.

 

 

 

David Beck 1953 – 2018

Posted in Architecture, Art, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 02/11/2018

David Beck in his studio

It is very rare in our lives to be around genius.  I was so fortunate to spend several days with David Beck in his San Francisco studio back in 2005 when Peter Carroll and I worked on a film about David for the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

David Beck in his studio

Claire Larkin at SAAM hired Peter to make a short film about David’s piece “MVSEVM”, and I was hired to shoot stills and help set things up.

David Beck in his studio

I remember that David didn’t particularly like to be called a miniaturist even though the scale of his work was often quite small.

David Beck in his studio

I was terribly saddened today when Claire emailed to say that David had died.  Here is his obit in the Times.

David Beck in his studio

David was truly a genius.  I was completely in awe of his creativity and craftsmanship.  His spirit and sense of playfulness were as abundant as his talents.

During the shoot the four of us laughed so much and had an absolute blast together.  As we were packing up and getting ready to leave, I lost a bet with him about the name of the actress that played the lead in the Munsters.  He nailed it with Yvonne DeCarlo.

Peter’s film is linked above, and “MVSEVM is on permanent display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in D.C.  Watch Peter’s film and listen to David’s voice, which sadly will not be heard again.

Travel / Willard Suitcases Documentary / St Crispin’s Day

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Yesterday morning I drove out to Ithaca to begin work on the suitcases documentary that I am working on with Peter Carroll and Deborah Hoard.

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After a quick lunch at the Lincoln Street Diner, Peter and I drove up to Willard to shoot some B-roll in the Cemetery.

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It is a special place to visit in so many ways.  When I took this photograph, the smell of mint was intense.  It seemed odd that it was so healthy this late in the year.

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We are in the beginning stages of figuring out how to document my work with the suitcases.  The point of this early filming is to to create a short piece that will help us raise funds.  We will probably run another Kickstarter campaign, which I expect will be up in the early part of next year.

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It was a beautiful day on the lake.  Chilly and breezy, which is to be expected in late October.  I can’t emphasize enough what an amazing spot this is.  The fact that 5,776 former Willard patients are buried here makes for an emotional experience.

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With the help and encouragement of  the wonderful Peggy Ellsworth and Craig Williams, we were given access to the Romulus Historical Society to film the interview today.  It worked out really well (even though the heat is currently off in the building).

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Peter is a genius in setting up lighting for interviews.  This is a frame grab from the video.  I am looking a bit stern in this shot, but I do smile from time to time.  It was a really productive day and I was reminded of how great it is to work with Peter and Deb.

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The historical society has a few suitcases that for some reason never made it into the main collection in Albany.  It was nice to be able to use them in the setup.

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I have driven past this winterized travel trailer on Route 96 repeatedly and finally stopped to take a few photos.  I love how the little wheels are covered too!

Today is St. Crispin’s Day.  I usually try to drink a load of Cognac to assist me in feeling a connection to the French and English soldiers who died at the battle of Agincourt.  If this post is a bit wordy, I’ll blame it on the bottle of Hennessy that seems to be emptying at a rather steady pace.  Check out the amazing Olivier in the 1944 version of  Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Thanks for following. Be well.

 

Willard Suitcases / Charles F. / Update

Willard Suitcases Project

I’ve been busy with the Hope and Feathers exhibit and quite busy with my freelance work, but the suitcases project is never far from my mind.

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I am working on an interesting collaboration on Charles’ cases and hope to have some exciting news soon.

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He had an interesting collection of ties.

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There are quite a few Penny postcards in the collection as well as some interesting hand- written notes.  You can see the New York State Museum’s catalogue number (in pencil) on the upper right side of the white paper.

Thank you all for following this project.  I will be devoting a ton of time to the suitcases later this month as I continue to develop ideas for getting the photos out to a wide audience.  And Peter Carroll, Deb Hoard, and I are beginning to work hard on a preliminary short film which we can send to funders for the larger documentary that we plan to produce.

 

Ithaca / Willard / Ovid Library Talk / Golden Rod

Posted in golden rod, History, Mental Health by joncrispin on 06/09/2015

I drove to Ithaca on Friday in order to attend the annual Willard Psychiatric Center employee reunion.  Saturday morning, Peter Carroll and I started our day in the usual way; breakfast at the Lincoln St. Diner and then a photo of him jumping.  It is the best diner breakfast anywhere.

I seem to remember a time when the Happy Landing was open, although I never did eat there.  It is on Route 96 between Trumansburg and Willard, and I have driven past it hundreds of times.  Love the sign.

I have been to the employee reunion before, and it is an amazing event.  Peter came along this time so that Peggy Ellsworth could introduce him to some of the retired staff.  It looks like he and Deb Hoard will be making a documentary on the suitcases project that will include some interviews with former employees.  It is something Peter and Deb have been talking to me about for a while, and is very exciting.  It’s still early days, and funding is a big hurdle, but I really think it will happen.

After the event, we drove over to Ovid to look at the “three bears” buildings in the center of town.  I noticed that the public library was still open, so I went in to say hi.  Librarian Katie Fontana was just closing up but was happy to show me the room where I will be speaking on Thursday the 24th of this month.  I would encourage any of you who are nearby to come.  There also will be some sort of brown bag lunch the next day.  Here’s is a link to the library web site.  Hope to see you there.  And this is the BEST sign ever.

On our way back to Ithaca, we had time for a quick stop at the Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg for a beer with Craig Williams and Helen McLallen.  Quite a place with lots of history.

On my way out on Friday, I had noticed more goldenrod than I’ve seen in ages.  This shot was taken about 3 miles East of Bainbridge, just before I got back on Route 88 for the drive home. The hillsides are covered with it.

If any of you can make it to Ovid for the talk, shoot me an email.  Maybe a bunch of us can meet at the Rongo for a beer afterwards.  Cheers, y’all.

Ithaca / Drone / Peter Carroll

Posted in digital imaging, Drones, quad copters by joncrispin on 14/06/2015

I’m in Ithaca for an interesting meeting about the suitcases, and have been staying with Peter Carroll.  He has been flying drones for his work for a few years now and just got the latest Phantom 3.  Very cool and amazing to watch.  Here is a link to some of his test footage.  Digital imaging has changed the world for videographers and photographers to such an extent that our ability to do new an interesting things is almost unbelievable.

Have a great week everybody.

Peter Carroll

Posted in Friends by joncrispin on 24/04/2015

I am in Ithaca to shoot part of the big Cornell 150th celebration and am staying with my pal Peter Carroll.  I like this photograph of him. / It was snowing yesterday when I arrived, and is cold and cloudy today. C,mon Spring!

Elli Carroll

Posted in Friends by joncrispin on 04/04/2015

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.

Pingry and Travel

Posted in Flowers, Friends, Landscape, Nature, Plants, Seasons, Travel, Trees, Weather by joncrispin on 10/05/2014

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.

Artists / Marc Castelli

Posted in Art, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 20/02/2014

Whenever I photograph artists, I always like to get a few shots of the mixture of paints on their palettes.

Today as part of the Tilghman Waterman’s Museum work, Peter Carroll and I went to Chestertown, MD and videotaped and photographed the artist Marc Castelli.  His main focus is working with, and learning about the lives of the watermen.  He spends a few days a week out on the bay with them,  then goes back to his studio and produces beautiful paintings of life on the water.

Tomorrow, I go back to shooting Tilghman artifacts, which is always fascinating.

My Kickstarter suitcases appeal had a good day today with 2 different $500 backers as well as some great other supporters .  We are down to 12 days to go and I am really working hard to spread the word.  Thanks to all of you followers of this blog who have helped out so far.

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