Here at ESP we’ve long been fans of Peterborough paramedic and street photographer Chris Porsz who’s been capturing the city’s social history with his camera since the 1980s.
Lockdown due to the coronavirus is a huge part of our recent history and of course Chris has captured this in his own unique way.
Chris has shared a selection of his images from lockdown exclusively with ESP and you can view the full album of pictures on our Facebook page too @espmagazine. The photos were taken in the early days of lockdown throughout April, May and then into June as the lockdown began to ease and shops started to reopen again.
The usually busy city centre was eerily quiet at first and then as people ventured out for essential services, long socially distanced queues stretched across otherwise largely empty pavements.
Facemasks became the new look if you were venturing out.
“I felt this pandemic was such a generational and historical crisis that it was crucial I captured for posterity how our lives have dramatically changed in our locked down city,” Chris told ESP.
“I had my stage of deserted streets and closed shops, some permanently and then I just waited for unusual, humorous and quirky masked characters to walk by.”
While we were told to stay at home and for those who continued to shield it was hard to imagine what the usually bustling city centre would be like so Chris was keen to record it.
“For those who have not set foot in town you will be struck as I was by the sight of people patiently waiting to reach the bank at two metre gaps in long queues across Cathedral Square.
“Let’s hope it improves before the bad weather but on an optimistic note it is good to see the shops and cafés slowly opening up for the new ’normal’.”
Out of the dozens of photos Chris has taken there are of course a few favourites.
“We all need cheering up in these sad old times and favourites include the man in a gas mask, Herbie on his scooter, the Know Your Enemy T shirt, and the couple with their dog and man in the park.”
Chris has produced several popular photo books featuring his work and his next one, which by chance is perfect for these times, focuses on his long career with the NHS.
“I am very excited and looking forward to the autumn publication of my very topical next book which covers my 46 years in the NHS as a porter and paramedic with unique images of PDH, Edith Cavell, PCH and the ambulance service.
“It will be my tribute to my friends, carers and colleagues in our amazing NHS and the sacrifice they have made for us. Part proceeds will go to local breast cancer research.”
ESP will keep you posted so watch this space and for more on Chris visit his website www.chrisporsz.com
Photos: Chris Porsz