In the late 1980′s Brad Edmondson and I went down to the Binghamton asylum buildings that I was photographing for my original New York State asylum project. While were in the “Castle” building we came across a room that was filled with boxes of glass plate negatives of patients from the early days of the asylum. It was an amazing trove of images and we immediately hoped to be able to do something with them. We had no luck getting access, but I have thought about them over the years. Craig Williams from the New York State Museum arrived at the facility on the morning of 11 September, 2001 to have a look, but events of that day put the kibosh on his access. About a month ago I heard that the Broome County Historical Society had finally made arrangements to check out the plates. On Friday I went to Binghamton to have a look at their efforts to organize, clean, and catalogue every plate. It is such a relief to know that they are finally in safe hands and will be preserved.
The negative’s eventual home is still up in the air, but the Greater Binghamton Heath Center which runs the facility is eager to get them into safe hands. Here you see one of the volunteers cleaning the non emulsion side of a plate. They are all a bit dusty, but otherwise in amazing condition.
Here’s another box of unexposed plates. Love the graphic design.
I am always on the lookout for bits of ephemera from the buildings. Another object from the collection is this very cool typewriter.
I’ve never seen one like this and haven’t had the time to research the brand. Anyone out there ever heard of the Printype Oliver Typewriter?
It is a beautiful machine and I like the little character in the photo below.
Old keyboards are also interesting.
Thanks to the Broome County Historical Society and the Greater Binghamton Health Center for allowing me to see the plates. And to Roger Luther who like me has a great interest in New York State asylums.
I was in Ithaca last week for a quick overnight before a shoot at Binghamton University. I met Tim and Brad at the Lincoln Street diner for breakfast and it was so great to see them both. At one point Tim said that he has started reading this blog and was wondering why I haven’t mentioned him (he was only half serious; just busting my balls a bit as friends are wont to do). I think this is Brad’s first mention as well. Both great friends of mine. I am so lucky.
Alex gets a special thanks. I won’t say why, but this photo of moss is all down to him. And I really love moss.
When I started this site, I vowed I would never take photos of food that I had cooked. Since I lived alone in Ithaca in the “80s, I have taken pictures of my dinners from time to time, but lately with the whole food on tv thing, it seems kind of self indulgent. But, as Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds”. So, I will write about love and friendship while posting a picture of something I cooked. John Wilson sent me a cookbook by Raymond Blanc a while back, and around holiday time, I use it alot. My son Peter loves it when we have big meals planned, and so it is lots of fun to put energy into producing something really good. Last night was French onion soup. Tonight was coq au vin, potatoes Dauphinoise, and for dessert, a lemon tart, all from the Blanc book. This picture of the lemon tart features the crust, of which I am particularly proud. / Yesterday as 2010 was winding down, I spoke to three amazing people on the phone. Alex Ross and I speak 4 or 5 days a week, Peter Carroll and I about the same, and John Wilson in the UK and I skype regularly. After our chats I just felt so blessed to have them as friends. Later in the day Cris and I ran some errands and went to a movie, then she, Pete and I had a quiet New Year’s Eve. / I was at my sister Karen’s just after Thanksgiving and got to see her entire family. At Christmas, we went to Maine to see my brother Bob and his family and had a great time. And this past Wednesday, Brad Edmondson and Tania Werbizky spent the night while on their way to the White Mountains. / As we were eating dinner tonight, after a long day of cooking, I fantasized about a huge long farmhouse table with all the people who give me so much love and support sitting around me. What a meal that would be. / We take Peter back to Union tomorrow, and I always get a bit melancholy when he leaves. In his words, I am “waxing a bit poetic” here, but if you can’t say how much your friends and family mean to you, something isn’t quite right. / So, to all of you dear people in my life, best wishes for the new year.
Every time I go to Willard, NY to do some work relating to the Psych Center, I go to the cemetery and walk around. The setting is really beautiful; a huge rolling field with a view of Seneca Lake. It is also a very moving place. For reasons I have never completely understood (or agreed with), the only names on headstones are in the veteran’s section. All other graves are marked with a number. I spent all day Friday photographing the wonderful people who worked at Willard before it was closed, and then Brad Edmondson and I walked across the road to have a look. I was struck by the fact that it was late Friday afternoon on the 10th of September, the last day of Rosh Hashanah.