Exhibition Review – SITHOM 2015

I am talking to Alan Thexton, one of the featured photographers participating in the annual SITHOM exhibition.

Can you walk me through your images, Alan?

I have a Fuji Xpro 1 and I was out with a group of photographers from SITHOM one afternoon. One of the guys lent me his 18mm lens to try. It was the first time I had used the lens, and the image was one of the first I had taken with the lens.

So it sucked you straight in?

Yeah, yeah… No, it took a little while. It was a fantastic deal when I bought it. Fuji had a cash back deal and it only ended up costing me $130 after a $200 “cash back” deal. 


I love the image as it reminds me of a little Leunig figure.  4

How did you adapt to the wider angle lens? Most of your images look quite wide, so tell me a bit about what you have learned over the journey.

I originally had the kit zoom lens. I thought to myself that I could try out a few different focal lengths on the zoom lens. My approach was to set it to, say, 35mm and start wandering around town, taking a few shots, knowing that when I needed to, I could change it for a particular situation. 

So, after trying out a range of lengths, I went back and looked through my photographs to see each focal length I had used. Most were under 35mm, with the majority being 18mm – 25mm. This focal length felt comfortable and natural for me. 

Clever. I hadn’t considered using a kit zoom before to work out which prime lens to buy!

The Fuji kit zoom is a pretty good quality lens, 18 – 55mm. It is sharp. So that’s the way went about it.  

The next images are black and whites. I love the use of shadows in these images. I think I have an image using that wall too!  Where was it?

Collins Street. It was one of those situations where I really liked the background. I just hid in the tramstop and just shot people as they came past. The shadows, squares, and lines all work together.  


The second is a bit more opportunistic. I was just walking past and saw the shot. It is down the bottom of Flinders Street underneath the railway line that goes out to South Melbourne. I had taken a few shots that I wasn’t really happy with, but then turned around and spotted him walking away from me. It was just “click”.


What is your favourite “go to” spot when you need some inspiration?

I don’t have one. I have more spots I don’t go to rather than go to! Places like Fed Square, Bourke Street, the National Gallery. 

So you have a quarantine zone?

Well, I do go to them, but I prefer to be away from them. What I love is single individuals contrasted against a landscape.


In the places I mentioned, there tends to be a lot of people around. If you go to Fed Square, every second person has a camera, and the photos that you see from there always seem to have the same backgrounds, same kind of people, all similar shots. I have found by stepping away, going a block or two back and walking somewhere else, you can often find unusual things happening. 


For someone starting to explore street photography, what’s the one big thing you could share that helped you along?

What made a big difference for me was another street photographer who dragged me out and he took me to the May Day Rally. At rallies and protest marches, people want to be photographed. So it’s easier for you to get over your fear of sticking your camera in front of  somebody. Going to a big event like that is the perfect place to start learning.

Find a protest march or something like that and mingle in. Start building your confidence there.

Tell me more about what you like about another photographer’s images here today.

Yiannis Yiasaris. To my way of thinking, using a longer focal length lens leads you to looking at a subject. With a wide angle lens, the viewer becomes part of the subject. You can feel like you are in amongst it. Yiannis successfully brings the viewer in to be part of the subject, but maintains an objective standpoint at the same time.   

Tell us a little more about SITHOM.

This is the fourth year, and I have been a part of it from the start. After each year’s exhibition I feel like going home and throwing the prints out! I find that I get to dislike them after a while. The second year of SITHOM, I submitted ten prints and I shouldn’t have done it. I think it is very hard to get ten good prints every year, so after that I decided I will only go with five. It is hard enough to get five great prints in a year.  

One of the great things about SITHOM is that it gives the opportunity to exhibit to people who may not have in the past. Anyone can come and put some images up. In our first year, I would guess over 90% of us hadn’t exhibited before. It is a wonderful opportunity for people to just “get something up and seen.”


MSP Review

The SITHOM exhibition was an exceptionally interesting and of a high standard. The best work could be shown anywhere…

I toyed with also submitting some images, but only found out a little too late. Shortlisting and selecting final images in only a few weeks is just too stressful to do well!

Based on what I experienced at the gallery, I would love to be a part of it next year.

My only disappointment was not being able to purchase a catalogue with the images all inside. Maybe next year? Although, organising it would be like herding cats, I suspect…


2 Responses to “Exhibition Review – SITHOM 2015”

  1. I like the use of simple compositions with strong color.


  2. They are rather nice! Alan is a pretty good street photographer!


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