Viola’s plaid suitcase was empty except for this tiny scrap of paper.
When Willard Psychiatric Center in New York’s Finger Lakes area closed its doors in 1995, staff member Bev Courtwright made a miraculous discovery. Tucked away in the attic were a collection of over 400 abandoned suitcases containing the possessions of their original owners before they were committed to the institution. Photographer Jon Crispin began documenting the collections of belongings in 2011, offering a poignant look into the lives of the people who entered this place (and often never left).
The patients and their suitcases arrived at the Center between 1910 and 1960. Since many of them were treated for chronic mental illness, it wasn’t uncommon that patients died while in the hospital and were buried in the graveyard across the street. If no family member came to claim their belongings, they were taken and stored in the room where Courtwright eventually found them.
The suitcases and trunks vary in their contents, of course, and some were more robustly-packed than others. This fascinating series that examines the objects we hold sacred and what we’re personally attached to, as strange as they may seem. Crispin’s website sheds light on the individual stories of each patient, and in a way memorializes those who owned them. (Via Let’s Get Lost. H/T Meighan O’Toole)
Dido Fontana‘s photography-vérité, is candid, relaxed, naturalistic (okay, not natural for everyone) and funny. Using film and developer, acid and dark rooms he discovers his girls and their midnight romps are beautiful, it just might be their off day and that’s okay.
Read more about Dido in this interview & check out some preview images from his newly release book.
Michelle MacKinnon‘s photorealistic portraits use the human face to investigate secrets and their relation to the idea of public/private. The artist explains:
“The series is a combination of a list of exposed secrets, and with no direct link to them, portraits of the sitters expressing their emotions/reactions to their listed secret. Provoked by the idea of confession, this series will explore the public/private relation of people and the exposition of their secrets. By anonymously submitting secrets to the artist and later posing for a portrait depicting their secret, this series strikes an interesting note of juxtaposition between the public and private sphere of secrecy. Publically, these secrets, and therefore their keepers, have been indirectly exposed. Out of instinctive human nature, curiosity drives the viewer to either intuitively match the portrait to their secret, or become empathetic to the portrait deriving from relation to their own secrets. Privately, the confession becomes an outlet for the sitter; a chance to formally acknowledge and confront their secret, yet knowing that, though it may be assumed, no one but themselves will be entirely accurate as to which secret is theirs. It becomes a veiled breach of the private into the public and a connection without fact; after all, we all have secrets.” – Michelle Mackinnon