Hello and welcome to Australia Street. In February 2015 I decided to photograph some people who lived on my street, Australia Street, in the Inner West of Sydney. The idea was to represent them photographically in order to get to know them a little better. I asked them about their greatest interest in life and also asked them to bring into my studio, an object to represent this interest. After shooting three or four subjects, I was soon discovering how interesting and diverse everybody is. I decided to expand the project and photograph more people from within my community. Many that I regularly nod to on the street agreed to sit for a portrait in my lounge room. It was during these sessions that I learned so much more about them.
After 16 months of shooting I had a collection of images that represent my neighborhood. Whilst the people in this project come from many different walks of life, both professionally and culturally, and have extremely diverse interests and attitudes toward life, the one thing they have in common is that collectively, their lives make this community. They are the beating heart of this neighborhood. So, while the portraits are of each person in the same setting, their attitude, style of dress and personal objects, or props, depict their unique qualities.
The next step was to bring all of the people together for an exhibition, get them together in the same room to meet one another and to celebrate their unified diversity. To crystalise this project I realised that I needed to create a book from the images. It is, effectively, a time capsule of Australia Street. The book has been collected by the City of Sydney Archives to be viewed by future generations, and has won a silver award from the Australian Professional Photographers Association.
To me, the Australia Street project is not just about this street or neighbourhood. It transcends boundaries and represents streets and communities across this planet. It represents all of us.
Zahn Pithers - Photographer