An amateur photographer in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, has bridged a gap of four decades by pairing photos of strangers he snapped in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s with present-day portraits.
Paramedic Chris Porsz would spend hours walking around his hometown city of Peterborough. Decades later he tracked down the people he’d photographed on the streets and got them to pose in the same locations.
Porsz, known as “paramedic paparazzo”, found some of his long-lost subjects after they recognised themselves when they saw their pictures in local and national papers, on his website, and on Facebook. Porsz then spent seven years seeking out the people in his pictures and persuading them to pose once again.
All the photos can be found in his new book, Reunions. See a selection of some of the best time-travelling photos below, with all the original photos on the left and the re-created photos on the right.
Punks Tina Tarr and her partner Dog in 1985.
Tina (right) and Dog were pictured near the cathedral in Peterborough in 1985 when Tina was 18. The couple left the city in the 1990s and went travelling. They have twins, but are no longer together. Tina now lives in Dorset and makes willow products and hosts weaving workshops, while Dog does hedge-laying and gardening and lives in southwest Wales. “I remember the photo being taken, it was a brilliant time,” said Tina. “I had various styles of punk hair for quite a few years.” Dog added: “They were good times, I still had hair then.” Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Punks Pippa Hodgson, Ade Lawrence, Gary Beckett, and John Church in the late 1970s.
Pippa, Ade (centre left), Gary (centre right), and John were pictured in Cathedral Square wearing pin badges. John, who is now a painter and decorator in the city, said: “The other lads were schoolfriends and Pippa was a mutual friend – we used to hang out together and listen to punk music. I think I was about 15 and on the verge of becoming a punk.” John is still friends with Ade, who’s now a binman, and they play in a band together. Gary emigrated to Australia, where he works as a project manager, and Pippa now lives in Spain. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Friends Sandra Williams, Carmen Chin, and Maureen Mayers in the early 1980s.
Sandra (left), Carmen (centre), and Maureen were friends at County Grammar School in Peterborough. They lost touch over the years, and the school was converted into sheltered housing in 1985. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Tony Wilmot, 22, kisses his girlfriend, Sally, 21, goodbye at the railway station in 1980.
Tony was working in Essex as a teacher and Sally was based in Stafford as a local government officer in 1980 – they had met up in Peterborough and had no idea the photo had been taken. A year later they were married. The picture appeared over 30 years later in a local paper, the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, and was seen by Tony’s father. The pair, who are now both headteachers and live in Lichfield, Staffordshire, have two children, Tom and Jenny, who are both in their twenties. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Sisters Maria and Annamarie Plavecz in 1982.
Maria (left) and Annamarie were photographed in Star Road in Peterborough in 1982. The siblings, who have a Hungarian father, both now work as carers. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Tasbir Singh in his first job in 1982.
Tasbir worked on a stall at the market in Peterborough for four years after leaving school. He then worked for BT and Royal Mail, where he still is today. He still lives in the city and is married with three children and four grandchildren. “I worked on the stall from the age of 18 until I was 22,” he said. “It was hard working in all weather.” Chris Porsz/Bav Media
James and Shirley Wallace shopping with their son Matthew in 1990.
James and Shirley had been shopping with Matthew in Peterborough as they did every Saturday when they stopped for a rest on a bench and Porsz took their photo. James has been a labourer for the past 42 years, while Shirley worked at the Hotpoint factory but got made redundant and now helps to taxi schoolchildren. Matthew, who still lives at home, did media studies at college and now volunteers at a local radio station. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Neil plays the flute outside a Co-op bank in 1986.
For many years Neil wandered around Peterborough town centre and played the flute outside the Co-op bank in Westgate. When Porsz’s photography book went to print, Neil had not been seen for several months. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Brother and sister Rose and Stuart Budnik in 1982.
Rose and Stuart were parked in a pram outside Tourist Information in Peterborough when Porsz took their photo in 1982. Now Rose has three daughters and Stuart is a policeman and has a son. They both live in Peterborough and meet up now and again. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Chris Porsz’s family in 1983.
Chris Porsz’s family were wrapped up warm as they trudged through the snow in Central Park in Peterborough in 1983. Lesley (left), who worked for BT for many years but is now retired, said: “We often used to go for walks in the park with the children.” Simon (second left) is now married with two children and works in HR at Basildon Hospital in Essex, Adam is a postman in Yaxley, Cambridgeshire, and has two children, and Emma is a PE teacher in Peterborough with two children. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Zaroob Hussain, date unknown.
Zaroob was 3 when Porsz snapped him peering through the gate of 92 Cromwell Road. Amazingly Porsz tracked him down later when he attended a 999 call in a nearby clothes shop where a woman had fallen. Afterwards he asked her husband if he recognised the little boy in the photo and said he lived down the road. As he pointed out the window, Zaroob happened to walk by. Zaroob now has three children and works in a takeaway in King’s Lynn. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Genesio (Gino) Borrillo selling ice cream in the 1980s.
Gino bought an ice cream van when he moved to Peterborough from Italy and travelled around the city in the summer selling ice cream. In 1992 he set up a pasta shop in Peterborough, which he still runs with his daughter. Gino is married and has three children and four grandchildren. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Les Featherstone mowing the lawn of Peterborough Cathedral in 1987.
Les was deputy head gardener at Peterborough Cathedral when this picture was taken. He has since been promoted to head gardener. “I’ve been there 30 years,” he said. “The job hasn’t changed much, but it is more mechanized and quicker to cut the grass now.” His wife works in the cathedral shop and they live near Bourne in Lincolnshire. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Friends on the steps of Cathedral Square in Peterborough in the early ’80s.
Left to right: John Church, Kim Guest, Gary Wymer, Mirko Obradovic, Ade Lawrence, Sean Adams, and Mark Winsworth. Aside from John and Ade, Kim and Sean have died, and Mirko works in a brickyard. Gary, meanwhile, was working as a butcher when the original picture was taken. In his early twenties he almost died after hitting his head on a bridge as he was cruising down the River Nene with friends. He was in a coma for a week but made a complete recovery. He went on to travel around the world, teaching English in Turkey, and later settled in Colchester in Essex, where he now runs an industrial cleaning company. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Vicki Gracey, date unknown.
Vicki Gracey (née Frost) worked as a sales assistant at a jewellery store in Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough for two years. She has since had jobs in bars, retail, hairdressing, and restaurants, and currently deals with tenancy sustainability. She still lives in the city and is married with two children. “I’m a people person and I’ve always had jobs which involve working with the public,” she said. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Richard Price, 17, selling meat outside a butcher’s in 1980.
Richard started work at the butcher’s in Peterborough when he left school at 15 and worked there for three years. He still lives in the city and works as an entertainer. The butcher’s shop became a café. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Shehnaz Begum (left), her twin sister Rukhsana, and their older sister Itrat sitting in the window of their house in 1980.
“We often used to perch in the window and watch what was going on in the road,” said Shehnaz. “My twin sister and I were about 7 and Itrat was 9.” Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Schoolfriends Martin Coulson and Andy Randall eating chips in 1983.
Martin (left) and Andy were eating chips bought from an arcade that has now been replaced with a Wilko store. “I think it must have been a Saturday and we’d been to the chip shop. The chips were a bit like McDonald’s fries and were always good,” said Martin, a former warehouse manager who is currently retraining. He is married with two children. Andy is a telematics engineer and is married with three children. Chris Porsz/Bav Media
Steve Osborn, aka Metal Mickey, seen in the 1980s.
Steve was known as Metal Mickey because he had broken both his legs several times in a series of motorbiking accidents and had plates and bolts put in them. “I even carried on riding my bike with my leg in a cast!” he said. Steve, who now uses walking sticks to get around, lives in Spalding, Lincolnshire, and is married. Chris Porsz/Bav Media