(Catherine) who instigated the portrait project I have been working on since last year. She is a beautiful woman who treats every client in her care like family. I headed off for a coffee date with her and on the way back we thought we should stop in to say hi to Pat.
Pat's images have featured on this blog over the past few months but I have never really given much of a back story to them. I met Pat when I photographed him for the paper I freelance with. My job sheet said something along the lines of " Pat Shore is a 78 year old ex homeless man being housed by Wintringham who has made sculptures from recycled rubbish to give to a local kinder" Even with the clinical wording I instantly I knew this job was right up my alley.
Pat's story was mysterious, the organisation knew he had once been homeless but aside from that no one knew much about his past. I met his social worker, Catherine, who clearly adored Pat and explained to me the paper had been contacted as Pat had started creating sculptures from things he had collected on his daily walks. I did not know what to expect, but soon after Pat walked over to me, slightly stooped, avoiding eye contact and I introduced myself. I then learnt Pat had been creating papier mache sculptures of animals and mythical creatures which he was now donating to a local kinder. I asked Pat about his sculptures, his inspirations and he began to come to life. He straightened up, looked me in the eye and started asking whether or not I had worked for Rupert Murdoch, and what I thought of Tony Abbott. His dislike for both men cemented my like for him and I spoke with his worker about maybe working on something more in depth than just a single shot for a paper.
From there the project "A Place for Us" came to fruition, with myself, Alan Attwood and Phillip Wright working with some of the wonderful people Wintringham houses. The work is all set to be exhibited at the Footscray Community Arts Centre from May 31st.
Which brings me back to last week that we walked towards Pat's unit, Catherine excited to tell him about us finally having an official date for the show and, I, with a handful of prints I wanted to give him. Half way up the path we were stopped and told the sad news that Pat had passed away in his sleep overnight. He was 79 years old. I cannot escape from the beauty that a man who had spent so many nights sleeping homeless in the cold would pass away in a warm bed, housed by an organisation that really and truly loved him as family. I am honored and humbled to be able to share Pat's images in the show, and glad that a man who was so special can be celebrated.