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March 19, 2021


Photography by photographers from the Australian Association of Street Photographers Inc.
Words by Bill Lacey and Melanie Meggs

Through adversity comes new ideas. And in a small way, the Australian Association of Street Photographers Inc. (AASPI) have found a way to meet the challenge of the moment and produce this stunning alternative to what should have been a live gallery event that was sidelined by Covid. Their new book “Melbourne Unmasked” presents a remarkable array of street photography that features some of Australia’s finest practitioners of the art.

Focusing exclusively on one city, the book presents a well rounded and compelling collection of street shots by 67 photographers arranged by various themes and styles who have focused on the eclectic hub that the city of Melbourne is today. If you are a fan of street, then there is something in this for you. The photographs are presented without attribution and require referencing an index. It’s an interesting choice, which at first may put you off but you soon realise they had made the right decision. The most important thing is the shot itself, not who took it.

AASPI is a collective voice that promotes street photography in Australia and to provide Australian and Asian Pacific street photographers the opportunities to promote their work. The original idea behind it started in 2010 between Benard Peasley, Ell Pixell and Georgie Hart on Redbubble (an Australian online art marketplace), where they put a call out to all Victorian street photographers to gauge interest. Known then as SITHOM (Shot In The Heart of Melbourne) Benard, Ell and Georgie put together their first exhibition in June 2012 with 27 street photographers at the prestigious Victorian Artists Society in Melbourne. In 2015, the collective registered as the Australian Association of Street Photographers Incorporated (AASPI), and since then they have grown to have two major exhibitions per year, regular photo walks and their monthly Speakers Series on YouTube. SITHOM continues today under the curation of joint efforts of all the association's members.

In August, the AASPI will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary with their annual SITHOM exhibition at Victorian Artists Society with a plan to invite previous presidents, past and current committee members to exhibit their work and provide both a contemporary and retrospective exhibition showcasing the 10 years of SITHOM. Future plans for the photography collective are to embrace their identity as Australian Street Photographers, support their interstate members, exhibit their work and provide more opportunities for their members to come together as a community. Currently they have members in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, and New Zealand. With approximately 150 members, they are welcoming new members from around Australia and are always on the lookout for innovative ways to showcase members' work and to support those new to street photography.

The book Melbourne Unmasked is a candid homage to the people that define this eclectic Australian city everyday. It is a stronger show of SITHOM and the AASPI's talents with members' selected shots, curated as a team effort, which in the book's layout flow together with an intent of each shot complimenting and adding value to the next.

If you are interested in buying the book, you can preorder a copy of "Melbourne Unmasked" through AASPI's website.

Photos have been provided by AASPI and remain the copyright of their respective photographers - Brent Lukey, Susan Brunialti, Mike Reed, Adrian Whear, Suzanne Phoenix, Andrea Esposito, Joseph Chow, Emma Yench, Russell Mason, Renata Filippi, Frank Cecconi, Ben Rook, Stephen Bowater.


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