Though Porter is known as a fine art photographer, he was, at core, a naturalist
and scientist. His library reflects his life-long curiosity about the natural
world. In addition to photography-related titles, one is just as likely to come
across a book by Darwin or a field guide to trees in the Appalachian Mountains.
The library charts the evolution of the artist’s career, encompassing
books from his early studies in biology, biophysics, and biochemistry to titles
he collected later that mirrored his environmental concerns, connection with
the Sierra Club, and focus on photographing the natural world. Matching Porter’s
preoccupation with photographing birds, the collection has many ornithological
titles and includes numerous titles on photographic technology. In addition
to books, Porter also collected a range of periodical titles related to natural
history and photography.