Way back in the 1970s and 1980s a photographer walked around taking pictures of people. In this article you can read about how he went to find them after 40 years!
Paramedic Chris Porsz spent many hours walking around Peterborough taking his photographs, and after 40 years he has gone back with the intention of reconstructing a book of his subjects. He managed to track down most of them and incredibly they all remembered him taking pictures of them.
He published the original pictures in local papers and on facebook and many people contacted him. He then spent seven years tracking them all down and taking more photos of them for his new book, which has now been published. Porsz says the book is a ‘one of a kind’ book, he has never seen another one like it. He said that he had had many setbacks along the way, but enjoyed every moment of it.
His hard work borne fruit especially now that his photos are already published in a new book, Reunions:
“This book has been nearly 40 years in the making and I believe the project is totally unique. I don’t think anyone else has tracked down so many strangers and recreated photos in this way before,” said Chris.
“It has been very hard work and I’ve had lots of setbacks along the way, but I always believed this could be something really special and was determined to do at least 100 reunion pictures and it has been a labour of love.”
Chris, who oftentimes only had one opportunity of getting a certain photo, would develop his photos in a dark room at home and put the best ones in an album:
“I would often be drawn by certain expressions on people’s faces, or a fleeting moment. It became quite addictive,” he said. “I liked taking photos of people who stood out from the crowd, things which were a bit different, quirky or fun.”
Last 2009, Chris came across his old photos and forwarded some to his local paper, The Peterborough Evening Telegraph. The readers loved them and soon he was receiving letters from readers who identify themselves in the photos:
“I had never taken anyone’s phone numbers or names and never expected to see any of the people in my pictures again, I just took them at random,” said Chris.
“Then I realised it would be fun to recreate some of the pictures and I became determined to find more people.”
Previously, he found Ricky Clarke, a guy he had photographed in a derelict house, after answering to a 999 call.
“Ricky rang 999 as he was unwell and as a paramedic I was called to his home. While treating him, he said that I had taken his picture 30 years ago. I couldn’t believe it – it was a million-to-one chance,” Chris said.
“The first 50 photos took around four years to do, but social media made it easier and soon I was struggling to keep up, sometimes doing 10 reunions a week.”
“It has been enormously satisfying to do so many reunions and seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they met up with old friends again. I’ve felt very privileged,” he said.