I’ve often wondered what it must be like to be a paramedic and live everyday in between life and death, without being able to save as many as you’d want to. Chris Porsz was a man who one day left his job as a first responder in order to dedicate himself to showing life, love, and friendship. Before this change in profession, he often walked down the streets of Peterborough, England to get away from the anguish that came with dealing with the constant possibility of death.
During the eighties he bought a camera and started taking pictures of friends and neighbors. He turned into an amateur photographer of everyday slices of life. Several years passed as he continued to save lives and capture moments. Later on he thought about recreating his best pictures with the same protagonists. The results were quite moving.
It all started with a kiss. In 1982 he photographed a couple saying goodbye at a train station. Years later Porsz wondered what had happened to them. He decided to look them up, and to his surprise, he found out they were still together. Time had changed their faces, but their love remained the same. That’s when he asked Tony and Sally Wilmot to return to the station and recreate the same image he’d taken almost 30 years prior.
Chris admits it’s not easy. It took him seven years to find and reunite the people from his old photographs. Many people proved impossible to find, but those who followed his project in Peterborough agreed to return to the past through an image. This endeavor began in 2009 and can be observed in the book Reunions.
This photographer’s work invites us to reflect on who we were and who we’ve become, as well as on the transcendence of love and friendship. If ever there was a theory claiming human relationships cannot stand the test of time, these prove otherwise. When feelings are genuine, it doesn’t matter whether it’s been 10, 20, or even 30 years. The connection that bonds these individuals will remain intact.
Individual portraits prove that youth never dies. Our faces can be weathered and wrinkly, our bodies tired, but our expression of joy shows our soul remains the same.
Through his work Porsz has turned from paramedic to a protector of time. His work is to take people back to their youth, when rebellion was shown through flashy clothing and intense signs of emotions. If his subject ever forgot about their ability to be happy, these pictures remind them, and all of us, to never stop being that sweet kid who smiled because they felt free.
Translated by María Suárez