Going Native In A Foreign Land One afternoon in March 2012, I went for a walk in the large, empty, litter-ridden lot just north of Penn Treaty Park in North Philadelphia. I’d been there a few times before: once on assignment for a newspaper covering a fishing contest, and a few other times as an aimless wanderer. I returned this time, once again, as a vagrant. There were a handful of people rambling about, including a family pre-empting the formal launch of spring with an afternoon barbecue. Every so often a man on a dirt bike and a girl on an ATV would come flying by, and off in the distance by the pier was a foursome playing horseshoes. The ground was soggy and attempting to navigate through tall grass, debris and mud on my bike was futile. I hopped off, laid it down in some brush and pressed on. I got near the edge of the park and walked along a path by the river. Amidst the trees I noticed a blue tent set up on the edge of what appeared to be a campsite. At first I dismissed this as a family picnic and walked on by. But as I got further down the path, the area looked more like a permanent residence. I immediately began fantasizing about being invited into this community, about documenting where they live and how they survive. I walked on a while before turning back with the intention of venturing into their world. When I passed by their camp again I heard a voice call out. A short man bundled from head to toe in winter in gear came hopping towards me. I asked his name in English followed quickly by “Como Te llamas?" With a huge friendly smile he quickly responded “Jose” I responded in turn. “Me llamo Jared.” Following a handful of questions, I learned that he was originally from Guatemalla and had been living in this camp for 3 years. I explained that I was a photographer and was very interested in his home and his lifestyle. I raised my camera without pointing it at him and asked if it would be ok if I came back to photograph his camp. He said ok. Over the next few months I made an effort to get back as often as possible. I spent time with them cooking, cleaning, eating, chatting and working. Sadly, the project came to an abrubt hault when a land developer moved in. Fearing persecution, Jose and his friends packed up and moved on. I wasn't there when they left and hope to one day stumble upon his camp again.