Chris Harrison didn’t initially have any intention of photographing Brighton.

However, after spending a few years capturing images in the city where he resides, he came to realize that his collection of photos provided an unexpected perspective on the city.

“Sideshow is an ongoing street photography project that I started in October 2016.

I go out into my home city of Brighton, without any expectation of what I might find.

The project was born out of a growing need to do something creative for myself and on my own terms.

I like the idea of the street as a set of ingredients in flux, where the challenge is to make something interesting out of it.

You work with whatever you find and attempt to make something out of nothing.

I didn’t originally see Brighton as ‘the subject’ as it were, there was more of a motivation to find interesting shots that happen to be taken in Brighton.

But as the project’s unfolded, I’m beginning to see that it speaks of Brighton, just maybe not in the way you’d expect.

I want to see Brighton in a new way, a way that’ll help me to never see it the same way again.

There’s another aspect to Sideshow that comes through quite strongly, and that’s ‘low season’.

The part of the year that Brighton takes on a slightly melancholy feel, the way that many bustling seaside towns can feel during the colder winter months.

I really like the low season, it can throw up some really interesting encounters with the light, the spaciousness and the more muted colours.

The shots that are taken in the winter months definitely have a different tone to them – they’ve got a bit more pathos and I find that a really interesting tone to play with.

I’m currently working on a collection of fifty images from this project that I’m going to self-publish by the end of 2023.”

About Chris Harrison

In the summer of 1987, I opened a magazine and saw Elliot Erwitt’s ‘Great Dane Legs, Boots and Chihuahua’ for the first time.

I was mesmerised. Shortly after that my mum bought me a second hand 35mm camera (thank you Mum), and I went to art college to study graphic design and photography.

I occasionally made some ‘OK’ photographs, but it took my naive and impatient 16-year-old self a long time to realise that candid photography (as it was called then) was much, much harder than Elliot Erwitt made it look.

Since then, photography has always been a part of my life. Sometimes being immersed in it (building my own darkrooms and printing my own work) while other times my cameras have gathered dust or been sold to pay for other things.

In 2016, after a 15-year hiatus and a chance visit to Arles, I rekindled my commitment to photography. I’m still plugging away.

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