I have finished looking through the Willard photographs, and you can view them here, if you wish.
This photograph is from the Projection Room. The names of the movies “playing” were written on the walls.
Just a little over 8 months ago I read about a project that to me, is a photographer’s dream. Named The Willard Suitcases, it is an ongoing project by photographer Jon Crispin, who is photographing the contents of suitcases left behind by patients of The Willard Insane Asylum. Located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, the asylum opened in 1869 and was closed in 1995. During the time it was operational, 50,000 patients called it home. Six thousand died there. Of those, 5,776 now rest in graves marked with only a number and a stick topped by a red flag. Their names are unknown.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to tour Willard. I cannot adequately describe the state of disrepair many of the building are in, and more than that, how it felt to be inside of some of the buildings, so I will let the photographs speak for themselves. Once I’ve looked through all of them, I will put them in one place here, as opposed to separate posts. Then you can decide if you want to see them. They are not “feel-good” photographs.
I did however, find one thing very striking, and that was the fact that in the midst of so much neglect and decay, some of the windows still had curtains hanging, each of them “styled” in a different way.
At least for now, with the exception of the black and white conversion of one of the tunnels shown here, and some cropping, I have decided to leave the photographs unedited.
A timeline of Willard’s existence can be found here.
Some of Jon Crispin’s work with the Willard Suitcases can be found here.