Kirkbride Buildings Blog

August 9th, 2008

Heidi Johnson Passes Away

I got an email this morning breaking the sad news that Heidi Johnson passed away this week. In case you’re unaware, Ms. Johnson was a photographer and author of Angels in the Architecture, a fantastic collection of photos and history of Traverse City State Hospital. I never met or spoke with her unfortunately, but her work documenting TCSH was an influence on me and on many other asylum photographers. I’ve always had nothing but respect for her work. In addition to being just plain beautiful, I’m sure it also played a role in the preservation of Building 50.

For some other tributes and thoughts on Ms. Johnson’s passing, please see Heidi Johnson and the Angels in the Architecture and Remembering Heidi Johnson.

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  1. John August 11, 2008, 2:34 pm

    What a surprise she was young.

  2. Ethan August 13, 2008, 1:54 pm

    Yeah, not quite 45 according to the obituary. Pretty sad.

  3. Br!on August 26, 2008, 9:59 pm

    Both of the links to her work are gone too, any leads?

    How did she die?

  4. Ethan August 26, 2008, 10:17 pm

    Wow, that was fast. I would have thought the site would have been kept up in her memory… Maybe it’s just something her family hasn’t had time to even think about though. Who knows, maybe it’ll come back.

    I haven’t seen any information on the specifics of how she died. Sorry.

  5. tcasylum July 10, 2009, 6:07 am

    Heidi’s own site is back up, kept going by her family:

  6. john November 14, 2013, 7:47 pm

    I first heard of “Angels In The Architecture” about 6 years ago and immediately went to the web to view. What stunning photos & memories. Nine months of my teenage life were spent at TCSH, 1969-early 1970. An episode of fear, discovery, acceptance, learning, a comfort understood only by someone who was there. Most of those I encountered were not insane-quite the opposite: battered, hurt, confused by traumas of life. Now at age 61 I am beset by horrendous misfortune, depression, no hope….I would happily return to TCSH at once if it existed, which it does in my heart

  7. Patty February 1, 2015, 3:08 am

    Oh, Heidi. I was there the day you took some of the photographs for your book. We both loved the place. You were such an eloquent spitfire for the cause of preserving Building 50, the cottages, barns, and natural beauty of the place.

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