Every once in a while, I stumble upon a photography project that stirs up all the emotions in me. It makes me chuckle, then it makes me cry, and it just makes my heart melt. Such is the project Reunions by British photographer Chris Porsz.
Chris photographed people back in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. And during 2020 and 2021, he tracked them down and recreated the photos he took decades ago – one of them being nearly 50 years old. Chris kindly shared his photos with us, and if you ask me, they’re the most heartwarming thing you’ll see today.
Chris was born on 31 January 1953 in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, UK. His first camera was Kodak Instamatic and he picked it up in 1972 to record a crazy 6,000 three-week hitchhiking trip across Europe and North Africa. He took the trip with his girlfriend Lesley, who became his wife. The couple got married in 1976 and they have three children and seven grandchildren. Their photo together is the oldest in the project: taken in 1973 after the trip, and recreated in 2021.
Sadly, the images from the adventurous trip were terrible. The Kodak Instamatic “made camels look like dots in the desert,” so Chris soon got a better camera. He progressed from Zenith, Practika, Olympus Trip to a Canon AE1. “I dropped out of my social worker studies and became a hospital A&E porter for thirteen years,” Chris explains. “On my days off in the early eighties, I roamed the streets seeking inspiration and capturing everyday life by pointing a camera at the society which was much easier and more satisfying than writing long boring essays.” He caught the camera bug, and it never left him since.
“I am a very minor untechnical amateur that just dabbles at it so I have to keep it simple,” Chris writes on his website. “It helps to have good gear but mainly it’s about putting the miles in, being there, and seeing potential.”
“I entered the digital age with a Canon EOS 1000D, 60D, 70D and finally a 5D M111 as I often photograph in low light and adverse weather. I do not use flash and I am hopeless at Photoshop so do minimal editing with the camera software. There is no substitute for getting it right first time in the camera.”
If I may offer personal insight, I believe that this kind of project isn’t about technical flawlessness or groundbreaking editing techniques. Therefore, the lack of Photoshop skills isn’t even an issue in my book. Reunions is all about people and emotions – and oh boy, there are so many emotions in these photos! It’s also about recreating photos in clever ways, like this photo with a donkey. It’s one of Chris’ favorites, and definitely one of my favorites as well.
Those of you who enjoy reading and printed images will be happy to learn that Chris is also publishing a book about this project. In fact, it’s the second Reunion photo book. It’s not only filled with heartwarming, funny, incredible, and some sad stories – but Chris also raises funds for Breast Cancer Research from book sales. You can order both the first and the second book through Chris’s website.
And now, let’s take a tour through more amazing photos and their recreations. Make sure to check out Chris’s books as well and catch up with any news on his Facebook.
[via Bored Panda]