Out of all the 19th century New York State insane asylums he has documented in all their glorious dereliction, photographer Jon Crispin has a particular fondness for the Willard Asylum for the Insane.
In the mid-1990s, when Willard was converted into a prison facility around 400 suitcases belonging to patients from the 1920s through the 1960s were discovered in the attic. They were cataloged and recorded and eventually displayed in an exhibition in the New York State Museum and because of his previous connections with the asylum, Crispin was invited to photograph the cases.
Out of the 400 suitcases found, Crispin has shot around 80-100 and an exhibition of the pictures opens on 17th April at San Francisco’s Exploratorium*.
For more information about the project check out Crispin’s Willard Suitcase blog.