10 Years of photographing Mardi Gras

Capturing Sydney’s Mardi Gras is always such a highlight for our team of photographers at Getty Images, many of whom have been covering the event for many years.

Pulling together this particular collection for Mardi Gras has been such fun – each of these images are just so incredible, especially because I know how challenging it can be for our team to capture the parade in all its glory.

Given it’s a moving procession, photographers face the challenge of having to capture beautiful moments whilst on the go, gear in hand, navigating large crowds. I think the fact that our photographers have such a history with covering the event makes these images all the more special, as they bring their own unique experience to the assignment and whilst some of them may not be members of the LGBTQIA+ community, they certainly are allies.”

OUR TOP 10 MARDI GRAS IMAGES OF ALL TIME
 10 years of Mardi Gras 7

1988

“Dykes on Bikes has been the first float to kick off the parade since 1988, so I thought it fitting to start the collection off this this image. This image was taken in 2008 and pictures two participants embracing before riding their motorbike in the parade.”

(Photo by Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)

10 years of Mardi Gras 3

1988

“1988 was also the first year the First Nations float appeared in the parade. The float served as a celebration of the 1988 bicentennial as well as a protest against the country's overall lack of recognition of Indigenous history. This shot of the First Nations float in the 2020 parade is a poignant reminder of Mardi Gras’ origins as a platform for activism.”

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

10 years of Mardi Gras 2

2009

“Here we have a very young Olympic gold medallist Matthew Mitcham posing with renowned Sydney entertainer and drag queen Joyce Maynge in the 2009 parade. Matthew was clearly a trailblazer throughout his sporting career. Not only did he break records at the 2008 Olympics, receiving the highest single-dive score in Olympic history, but he was also inspiring fellow athletes in the LGBTQIA+ community by being the first openly gay athlete to win an individual gold medal in the Olympic games.”

 (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

10 years of Mardi Gras 10

2017

“Here you can see two members of the Tiwi Islands transgender community marching in the 2017 parade. After a successful crowd funding campaign, a group of 30 transgender women from the remote Northern Territory Tiwi Islands travelled over 4,000 kilometres to Sydney to represent their community for the first time at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. This is an image that captures pure joy.”

(Photo by Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images)

10 years of Mardi Gras 9

2019

“I absolutely love this image of Arohi Chapman-Barber from the Haka For Life float greeting an indigenous performer at the 2019 parade. This year was the first time Haka For Life, a charity organisation focused on men's health, wellbeing and suicide prevention in the Maori community, walked in the parade. This photo captures such a beautiful moment of stillness between two people, acknowledging and celebrating one another's cultures.”

(Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images) 

10 years of Mardi Gras 6 Kyle

2019

“This is an iconic image of Kylie Minogue on a float of Kylie impersonators at the 2019 parade. As the undisputed queen of Mardi Gras, Kylie’s surprise appearance and performance on the night certainly did not disappoint!” 
(Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

10 years of Mardi Gras 5

2020

“This photo is part of a series our entertainment photographer Don Arnold did at Mardi Gras, where he spoke to people who were involved in the parade over the years and uncovered what it meant to them. This shot of Gavin Haughain and partner Aiden Eric sharing a kiss in wedding attire in the middle of Oxford St at the 2020 parade is a great encapsulation of how far the LGBTQIA+ community have come and what they’ve been fighting for.”

(Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)

10 years of Mardi Gras 4

2020

Here we have Sam Smith at the 2020 parade, where they surprised crowds and marchers by appearing on the Twenty10 float. Twenty10 is an organisation that supports young people aged between 12-25 in the LGBTQIA+ community. This was the first time Sam attended a Sydney Mardi Gras, and to have them marching in the parade was such a huge moment for the community. The 2020 Mardi Gras Parade and Party was actually Sam’s last big live performance of the year, as COVID and subsequent lockdowns meant that their world tour was cancelled.”

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

10 years of Mardi Gras 1

2020

“Here’s Dua Lipa looking amazing on the Surf Life Savers float at the 2020 Mardi Gras parade. It’s incredible to think that it was just last year that both Dua Lipa and Sam Smith performed in Australia – something that seems so far away now considering the year that followed! Dua Lipa has been such a huge ally for the LGBTQIA+ community, so having her march and perform at last year’s parade was huge.”  

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

10 years of Mardi Gras 8

2020

“Here we have a Drag Queen laughing along with police officers on duty at the 2020 parade. The officers pictured are donned in glitter whilst doing crowd control in the marshalling section of the parade at Hyde park. The marshalling area is like the backstage of Mardi Gras, where marchers wait to join the parade. It’s such a hive of activity and excitement, so the images that come from the photographers in the marshalling area are always stunning.”

(Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

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