A 'Sideways' look at Bangkok's bizarre and beautiful streets

An innovative group of photographers and their mentor are staging an exhibition featuring images that capture the spontaneity and contrasts of the City of Angels

Sideways is the name of a group of 11 photographers who spent a year gathering street life-inspired photos and are now showcasing their masterpieces in a new exhibition called "Street Inbox: Exhibition Photography By Sideways". The group drew inspiration from the Bangkok Street Photo workshop conducted by renowned photojournalist Vinai Dithajohn last year at the Thailand Creative and Design Centre at the Emporium. The exhibition opens on Friday and runs until April 30 at the Box Prop & Studio on Phichai Road. It features six photos from each of the 11 Sideways members as well as six photos by their mentor Vinai.

A photo by Vinai Dithajohn of a man picking up an unidentified item in front of a line of riot police; a photo by Anuchid Lermsum of a young woman sitting over a sign prohibiting such an act.

Sideways' images display unique street photography, an informal genre that's become popular as a means of portraying a restless city yearning to be captured. Many find this candid photographic method to be an artistic form of escapism. It's a straightforward depiction of poignant situations, as if holding up a mirror to society. Often satirical and sophisticated, and with a wicked sense of humour, the photos on display are an honest reflection of the impressions of the man or woman behind the lens.

Vinai said of Sideways: "This group channels an expressive boundary-less photographic genre, which is quite new in Thailand. Bangkok is a perfect location for this type of photography. Look around and you'll see we contradict ourselves everywhere. For example, we may see a spirit house installed right next to a building with Roman pillars, or a bulldozed shop-house adjacent to a newly-built skyscraper."

COLOURFUL CHARACTER: Photo by Harit Srikhao.

One of his photos showcased at the exhibition was taken during the 2010 anti-government riots, but it's not meant to convey Thailand's political meltdown at the time. "It's a photo of a person who is neither a red nor yellow shirt supporter picking up something in front of the riot police," he said.

Sideways member Anuchid Lermsum, a freelance architect and photographer, adds his architectural expertise and feel for contrasting colours into his photos, while Suphapong Eiamvorasombat takes his photos with an iPhone. Harit Srikhao, 18, the youngest of the group, aims to "channel life on the street".

Tipawan Gatesomboon, a photographer at E Commerce magazine and the only female member of the group, finds inspiration for her work in the "raw beauty of the female form and sex". "I used to be into nature," she said. "I had never been involved in this type of photography before the workshop. I'm now fascinated by street portrayals. My showcase is quite tongue-in-cheek. That's life, isn't it?"


'Street Inbox: Exhibition Photography by Sideways' displays works from Chakapan Akapanthanon, Atiwat Silpamethanont, Anuchid Lermsum, Suphapong Eiamvorasombat, Sidthijade Rueangpeerapat, Jirayu Chartprasop, Harit Srikhao, Pornthep Jaipra, Ariya Khamya, Tipawan Gatesomboon, Patipat Janthong and special guest artist Vinai Dithajohn.
The exhibition opens at 6pm on Friday and runs to April 30 at The Box Prop & Studio (Pichai Road, Soi Santisuk).
For more information, please visit www.ossphotography.com

SHOWING SOME LEG: Tipawan Gatesomboon finds inspiration in raw beauty.

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Writer: Kritini Upayokin
Position: Brunch Editor