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I am photographing a collection of suitcases left behind by residents of the Willard Psychiatric Center in Willard, NY
I am photographing a collection of suitcases left behind by residents of the Willard Psychiatric Center in Willard, NY
674 backers pledged $18,114 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates

Design Observer Quarterly


Hi Friends,

Design Observer Quarterly just published a lovely piece on the suitcases.  I would encourage any of you who are still interested in the project to check it out.

Here is a link to a post I did on my wordpress site.   

The link will tell you how to order a copy.  Or you can go directly to the Design Observer site.

Thanks,   Jon

Exciting News About a Documentary


Dear Friends, 

Some of you might have already received this update directly as an email.  My mailing list includes anyone who has contacted me directly, so I'm sorry if this overlaps.  You don't have to read on.  But for those of you who only follow the project through kickstarter, there is exciting news that I wanted to share.

Several months ago I began thinking about producing a documentary film about the suitcases. I am excited to report that along with my colleagues Peter Carroll and Deborah Hoard, I am beginning to move forward with this effort. Peter and I have been friends and have worked together on various projects for a very long time. He photographed and edited the two fantastic Kickstarter videos that helped to fund the project. Deborah Hoard of PhotoSynthesis Productions in Ithaca has also been a long time friend and supporter of my work. It is still early days, but I wanted to reach out to those of you who have been closely involved in the success of the project and let you know that we are moving ahead with this endeavor. 

We plan to get started soon with production, including interviews and descriptive footage that along with my photographs will allow us to put together a short, compelling proof of concept piece for potential funders. We are hoping to interest foundations and non-profit organizations that might like to be a part of this film. And while I am not completely counting out another Kickstarter campaign, I am hoping that we can get enough support behind us without going that route. 

I am reaching out to you for advice, suggestions and in some cases a request to share your expertise and insight by participating in a short on-camera conversation with us. And of course we would very much appreciate any ideas you have for funding sources. 

This is an exciting next step for the project. I still have a ton of work to do editing the photographs and approaching publishers and venues for exhibits, but I am really hopeful that Peter, Deb, and I can develop our ideas into a film that reflects the amazing nature of the collection. 

Thank you all for your support. I look forward hearing from you soon. And if you haven’t checked out the site lately, now would be a good time. I have uploaded lots of new cases. 

 Best, Jon

Hello Friends


It has been ages since I have updated all you wonderful backers of my first Kickstarter appeal.  Most of you are aware that I ran a second successful campaign, and I will be posting an update there as well (Here is a link.)  I finished shooting all of the cases this past November and am continually editing the images and uploading them to the site.  The project is still getting loads of attention from around the world, which is very gratifying. I am hoping to generate interest in a book and will be pitching the idea to publishers, as well as considering self publishing.  I have started to travel and speak about the project to various groups and organizations.  And I am beginning to talk to museums and galleries about exhibiting the photographs.

For those of you who are interested in continuing your support of the project, there are a few things that I would ask your help with.  If you know of any organizations that might like to have me come and speak about the project, please let me know.  Also if you are connected to museums or galleries that might be interested, I would appreciate the reference.  I am selling prints on the site, and I still have a few of the signed limited edition books from the second appeal.  It is an edition of 40 and is simply beautiful.  I am also considering a second run of the book which I would be able to sell at a lower price, providing there is interest.  I can be reached at or (I think) by responding to this update.

I want to thank you all again for your initial support of the project.  It was an essential start to documenting this amazing collection, and introduced me to a wonderful community of backers.  You can continue to follow along at my wordpress site, which also includes some of my other work.

All best,

Jon Crispin      

26 February, 2014


Friends and Backers,

I am now one week away from the end of the second Kickstarter appeal to fund the ongoing work of photographing the Willard Suitcases.  I have reached that "plateau" part of the appeal where I am getting a bit nervous about reaching my goal.  So I am coming back here to encourage any of you who would care to back the new project to donate.  Here is the link.

For those of you who have already backed me for the second time, I am really grateful.  Any help in spreading the word to friends and family would be so much appreciated.

All best,  Jon

7 February, 2014 / rewards


Thanks to all of you have helped out with the new appeal.

After the first appeal closed, I worked really hard at making sure everyone got their rewards, and I did really well, but several seemed to have slipped through the cracks.  Some came back to me with incorrect addresses, and a few seemed to get lost in the post.  I just heard from backer Lisa B that she didn't get hers, and I just put it in an envelope and am about to mail it.  So if you never got your reward, send me a message through Kickstarter and I will make sure you get it.  It is very important to me that this gets sorted.  All best, and thanks again.  jon