Chris Porsz: the inside story behind the incredible street photography project

The Reunions project of portraits was started in the year 1980 and started to grow up to about ’85 or ’86’, at which he would ‘walk through in the city of Peterborough using my camera. The focus was always on the people. I am sorry in some ways because I realize now that backgrounds and structures are extremely important and you feel sentimental about this. I may have been a little shy, so I was perhaps more often using the telephoto lens, and I would shoot portraits from behind, and then I completely changed and now I use an wide-angle lens. the whole thing into .’

Mark Court, left, and his brother Matt eating chips in 1980 while their mom was shopping in Bridge Street, Peterborough. (c) Chris Porsz

Mark Court, left, and his brother Matt photographed snacking on chips in April. The brothers attended schools with Chris Porsz’s kids and currently reside in Birmingham. (c) Chris Porsz

He took photographs of the local population in Peterborough town center, at the railway platform, in and outside shops, shopping for Ice cream, in the streets, and at outdoor events like fairs. However, the birth of children and a full-time job as a paramedic kept his photography in limbo for more than 25 years.

He acknowledges that he was ‘ sort of out of the love of photographing,’ but his passion for photography was revived in 2009 after he submitted some of his photos from Peterborough during the 80s to the city’s local newspaper, Peterborough Evening Telegraph. Peterborough Evening Telegraph. Chris says, ‘Amazingly, they loved the images and even offered me a column called Paramedic Paparazzo.’

A few locals began to recognize themselves in the photographs, and Chris experienced his “lightbulb moment” after Chris thought to himself, “what if I could find them perhaps?’ This long-running search started in the year 2009, and for the subsequent five years, he located the same individuals frequently via social media. If possible, he took pictures at the exact locations and poses that he’d photographed them in years earlier. The photos were published in the book of the same name in 2016. Reunions However, it was not the end of the story…

Former lollipop princess Gloria Steele (wearing Tracy Hutchings’s uniform, left) Sees (from left to right) Mazia Ahmad, Gulfraz Umar (nee Malik), and Tanya Porter across the road at Queen’s Drive School, Peterborough, September 2020. (c) Chris Porsz

Chris decided to keep going with Reunions. Chris says, “What really inspired me to go back was the advent of digital. The ability to immediately see your photos and print as many of them as you’d like inspired me to get back on track. Luckily, I did take photos of many young people – this is considered a sin today, but in the past, that’s what people took pictures of. Many of the older people are dead now, and if I had just captured them, I would not have published a book. Therefore, it was a good thing to take pictures of] the children.’

Retirement & Reunions 2

After resigning as a paramedic in the latter part of 2020, Chris decided to write a new book called Reunions II in the same way that the first book, many individuals who needed to be photographed again. At this point, his travels through cameras had led Chris from the Kodak Instamatic camera up to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III equipped with a zoom lens of 24-70mm. He confesses, ‘I also wanted to bring the 1980s mono photos to a certain degree.’

He explains his journey with equipment and says: ‘I started with an Instamatic Kodak, later it was an Zenith and a Zenith – both were solid cameras, and then an Praktica. Then it was an Olympus Trip and a Canon AE-1. This was the only thing available at the time. It was a standard lens, as well as it was a zoom lens. I also owned an angled lens at the time. I noticed that using an telephoto lens, I could sometimes blur backgrounds. I’ve since changed my approach and I’m strongly influenced by Robert Capa’s words in my mind “if your photograph’s not good enough, then you’re not close enough.” That’s why I looked through Canon Ds – the 60D and 70D and then decided to go with 5D Mark III. 5D Mark III. It’s now almost exclusively the 24-70mm lens. I usually keep on the wide-angle side.

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