The Estate of Joseph A. Porter
A few years ago, I met Joseph A. Porter, a 63-year old homeless man, living on the streets of New York City. Shortly thereafter, Joe, a self proclaimed, “Renaissance Man”, became the subject of a photo-documentary, which I was creating for the completion of my Master’s Thesis. Over the course of two years, I extensively documented Joe, and his life-style, as a “modern nomad”. Due to what I believe to be an undiagnosed case of pathological narcissism, and other irreconcilable differences, Joe abruptly ceased all communication with me. He also withdrew his support of my project, and retracted all rights for me to publish his image. Shortly thereafter, Joe left New York City, and I never saw him again. Three months later, I was notified by the Pine Street Inn, a New York City homeless shelter, that Joseph A. Porter had died of hypothermia in a city park. On the Pine Street Intake Form, Joe had listed me as his next of kin. I was subsequently shipped his surviving possessions. After close examination of these materials, I discovered more about Joe, and his past, than I had in nearly two years of documentary study.