It's always a good day when the first e-mail in my inbox is about shoes. And despite this note being about men's shoes, I was still fascinated to watch a piece by Kinga Kenig, a photo editor for the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. It shows the former possessions of infamous Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff, and ticks through image after image of watches, jewelry, televisions and more shoes than a person could wear in a year.
The auction of Madoff's belongings captured the fascination of Kenig, who is currently living and working in West Hartford, Conn. Last week she read about it in the Wall Street Journal, hopped a bus to New York and headed over to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for the preview.
"It was like walking into a big, exclusive thrift store whose customers spoke different languages," Kenig said.
Her multimedia piece uses pictures from the auction catalog and interviews with auctioneers. The result is comical, mind-blowing and, ultimately, sad. It's a look into the shopping habits, the values and the fall of a man obsessed with possessions.
Last weekend the goods were sold by Gaston & Sheehan auction house for the U.S. Marshals Service. The proceeds of more than $2 million will go to Madoff's swindled clients.