Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras | 2021

“I’ve covered over 10 Mardi Gras events in my life and I have to say, Mardi Gras 2021 at the SCG wasn’t dissimilar in its atmosphere or energy to years past. In fact, I think the event might have even gained something by it all being held in one spot, plus the excitement of big names like Rita Ora, G-Flip and Troye Sivan performing on the night.

In the lead up to the parade this year, I was fortunate enough to do some portrait shoots with the iconic Joyce Mange, Verushka Darling, Heath Keating and Maxi Shield. These shots have been getting a lot of love on social media, particularly the one of Maxi in light of the exciting news that she will taking part in RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under. It’s become a tradition of mine to do these kinds of one-on-one shoots before Mardi Gras as it allows me to take my time and get the shots rather than navigating the chaotic excitement as the parade unfolds.

My favourite shot from Saturday night would have to be the one of Lady Fur posing in the vines of the tree outside the SCG. I captured this as I was walking into the stadium well before the parade even started. I made the most of this mid-afternoon time, as I knew that as soon as I entered to the venue I would have to stay in my Media Pen for the whole night to comply with COVID regulations. I’ve found that in previous years, it’s the shots from before the parade even starts that are often the most impactful – these really show the excitement and energy of the participants and they can be stylised shots. The natural mid-afternoon light further adds to the photographic quality.”

Don Arnold


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