Beach, Butter Island, Maine, August 1937The Porter collection's photographic elements include the artist's original prints, negatives, transparencies, slides, separation negatives, masks, matrices, and work prints, dating from 1934 to 1990. Appended to Porter's own photographs are a small group of family portraits made by various photographers, and photographs given to the artist by friends and associates.

Starting in 1962 Porter generally employed a printer to make separations, matrices, and prints of the images he selected. He would then mount and spot the prints that met his approval. When under deadline pressure to complete prints for a project, he would also go into the darkroom on weekends to continue the printing. The Santa Fe painter Jorge Fick printed many of Porter's images from 1962 to 1968. David Rathbun printed for Porter from 1971 to 1974. Jim Bones was Porter's printer from late 1974 to 1977. The artist then printed his own work entirely until 1988, when he took on Bob Widdicombe.

Porter generally created only one or two prints of a given image, though a few images are represented in the collection by up to eight prints. He made a point of reprinting images that he sold or gave away. Thus, save for his earliest work, the collection includes examples of more than ninety percent of the images he chose for printing throughout his career.

Gelatin silver prints: 1,847
Dye transfer prints: 7,579
Black-and-white negatives: 4,441
Transparencies: approximately 25,000
Slides: approximately 60,000
Separation negatives: 19,014
Masks: approximately 12,000
Matrices: 7,317
Work prints: 2,683