Waiting for the Parade

TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT CATTO

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras

Sydney's Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is known around the world for the outstanding costumes and colour in the annual parade down Oxford Street; but I've found the audience is quite often as impressive as the participants.

Being such a popular event, it brings people from around the globe - indeed, I was saying to a neighbour that the spare bedrooms of Sydney are filled to bursting, that weekend - and an incredible volume of feathers, fake fur, wigs, and most of all glitter are put to use in ways they may or may not have been designed for.

The way people present themselves is amplified a thousandfold for just a few days, before returning to their everyday lives, with only a selfie (or twenty) to remember it by - but everyone does it in their own unique way, and whether they're part of the community themselves or there to support family and friends, no two costumes are quite the same.

The colour & characters on the streets are nearly irresistible for photographers; I lost count of the number of people with cameras relative to the number in costume, but a 1:1 ratio would hardly surprise me.

The true stalwarts wait all day by the fences along the route, to be at the front when the parade starts (at 7pm); so there's real commitment on the sidelines, as well as on the floats.

But in the end, the waiting was a bit too much for some...

Robert Catto

PO Box 806, Darlinghurst, NSW 1300, Australia

I'm a Canadian photographer now living in Sydney Australia, specialising in performing arts, live events, editorial and corporate / commercial work.