26th March 2015 Written by John Ma Trending Fun

The Kiss

If Fair Day was a family affair, and the Harbour Party was a grown up’s shindig, then The Party was one big sloppy kiss! Much like the ‘Parade Portraits’, The Kiss is all about the people and their moment. And as the title suggests, it’s all about kissing.

Throughout this eight part series, I hope I was able to bring a little love, passion, and fun into your world. I hope this has shown the world what the Sydney Mardi Gras was like, inside and out. And I really hope that we can go out like these guys and share our love with the world.

So no more from me. If we’re gonna use our mouths, then we should use it to kiss someone we love. And for whatever reason if you need inspiration, then look no further! Because don’t these guys look like they are having fun?

JohnMa Kiss 1

© John Ma


JohnMa Kiss 2

© John Ma


JohnMa Kiss 3

© John Ma


JohnMa Kiss 4

© John Ma


JohnMa Kiss 5

© John Ma


JohnMa Kiss 6

© John Ma


JohnMa Kiss 7

© John Ma


JohnMa Kiss 8

© John Ma


JohnMa Kiss 9

© John Ma

This is the end of the official coverage of the 2015 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, but if you need more you can head here, theres lots more to see!

And until next time… Much love and happiness!

23rd March 2015 Written by John Ma Trending Fun

Twinkle Twinkle Little Party

JohnMa 01 Invasion

Zombies © John Ma

Oxford Steet was laid to waste. Fish and chips and kebabs refuelled tired bodies as the hordes of party zombies descended onto the Hordern Pavilion.


JohnMa 02 GoodAndEvilAndStringCheese

Good, Evil and String Cheese © John Ma

The bodies flowed through the gates. There was a nagging feeling that serious choices had to be made that night.


JohnMa 03 Union

Union © John Ma

Aussie girl meets Brazilian girl. They fall in love and decide to get married. The ceremony took place on one of the floats in the parade. Imagine what their kids will look like.


JohnMa 04 Entourage

Entourage © John Ma

Some rolled deep.


JohnMa 05 Razzle

Razzle © John Ma



JohnMa 06 Gaga

Gaga © John Ma


JohnMa 07 BigRooms

Big Rooms © John Ma

There were lots of big rooms like this and all of them boiling with human energy.


JohnMa 08 TheMenu

The Menu © John Ma

On full display.


JohnMa 09 NeonPeaces

Neon Peace © John Ma

They came in neon and peace.


JohnMa 10 Deuces

Deuces © John Ma

Two is better than one.


JohnMa 11 Bodies

Frenzy © John Ma

It was like a feeding frenzy.


JohnMa 12 Victors

Victors © John Ma

He is a winner.


JohnMa 13 Jocks

Jocks © John Ma

Fully sick jocks!


JohnMa 14 Unicorn

Unicorn © John Ma


JohnMa 15 Rider

Rider © John Ma

Some were just riding it out.


JohnMa 16 Teleporter

Teleporter © John Ma

If you let it, you can imagine it’s a teleporting machine.


JohnMa 17 Pray

Pray © John Ma

Sometimes this happens when I stand up on high places. I hope I granted him what he prayed for. I gave him the only thing I could, and took his portrait in this raving mass of Mardi Gras excitement.


JohnMa 18 MadMaxine

Mad Maxine © John Ma

Definitely teleported here.


JohnMa 19 Twinkle

Twinkle © John Ma

I caught one twinkle.


JohnMa 20 Selfless

Selfless © John Ma

Some friends are just so selfless when they are taking selfies.


JohnMa 21 FairyFloss

Fairy Floss © John Ma


JohnMa 22 DanceFloor

Dance Floor © John Ma

The struggle and hassle of walking through the crowd is easily justified by what you’ll find. I found him in the middle of the buzzing balminess.


JohnMa 23 Pasties

Pasties © John Ma

Sometimes when you lose a pastie you just have to make do.


JohnMa 24 Fairytales

Fairytales © John Ma

Someone playing with the teleporter again.


JohnMa 25 RockOn

Rock On © John Ma

By now I had no idea which one of the big rooms I was in. The Party kept on and I held on.


JohnMa 26 Poof

© John Ma

And like magic, she appeared again.


JohnMa 27 Casualties

Casualties © John Ma

There were bound to be some casualties, and not everyone was going to walk away unscathed.


JohnMa 28 DumpOut

Bump Out © John Ma

I honestly can’t remember the party ending. But if I had to imagine it, it would be like this.

18th March 2015 Written by John Ma Trending Fun

The Parade Portraits

The passion, pride, and performance of Mardi Gras is encapsulated and personified by its people. In and out of it - watching and playing in it. It is the people that make up the whole thing.

I love photographing humans. The results always astound me. Mardi Gras is my rabbit hole. I won’t ruin this with words. This is all about character, so I’ll let character speak for itself.

JohnMa 01 OldVic

Old Vic © John Ma


JohnMa 02 Invaders

Invaders © John Ma


JohnMa 03 PomPoms

Pom Poms © John Ma


JohnMa 04 BladesOfGlory

Blades of Glory © John Ma


JohnMa 05 BangBang

Bang Bang © John Ma


JohnMa 06 NoHands

No Hands © John Ma


JohnMa 07 Footpath

Footpath © John Ma


JohnMa 09 Folks

Folks © John Ma


JohnMa 10 Pipes

Pipes © John Ma


JohnMa 11 Madame

Madame © John Ma


JohnMa 12 Ghosts

Ghosts © John Ma


JohnMa 13 Dos

Dos © John Ma


JohnMa 14 Gimps

Gimps © John Ma


JohnMa 15 Traditions

Traditions © John Ma


JohnMa 16 WarPaint

War Paint © John Ma


JohnMa 17 Partners

Partners © John Ma


JohnMa 18 CrewCut

Crew Cut © John Ma


JohnMa 19 Girls

Girls © John Ma


JohnMa 20 MardiGras

Mardi Gras © John Ma


JohnMa 21 Slip

Slip © John Ma

JohnMa 22 Melodrama

Melodrama © John Ma


JohnMa 23 Eve

Eve © John Ma


JohnMa 24 78ers

78ers © John Ma


JohnMa 25 Pixie

Pixie © John Ma


JohnMa 26 Feathers

Feathers © John Ma


JohnMa 27 Pink

Pink © John Ma


JohnMa 28 Looks

Looks © John Ma


JohnMa 29 Pigtails

Pigtails © John Ma


JohnMa 30 Umbrella

Umbrella © John Ma


JohnMa 31 Shatter

Shatter © John Ma


JohnMa 32 Glory

Glory © John Ma


JohnMa 33 Sweetness

Sweetness © John Ma


JohnMa 34 You

You © John Ma

These portraits represent just a few of the characters from the parade, if you're keen for more, you can check them out here

16th March 2015 Written by John Ma Trending Fun

Mardi Gras 2015: The Parade Route

JohnMa 01 Backdrops

Backdrop © John Ma

I was late reaching my media bay when the Parade officially started. Being ushered by security and event organisers, I rushed up the empty parade route of Oxford St. Not far behind me was the very beginning of the parade, and behind them was the setting sun that silhouetted the city. The energy had been building up all day, and as the waiting crowd caught sight of the marching paraders, the noise in the air wasn’t just cheers, it was a delight.


JohnMa 02 Fiver

Fiver © John Ma

Every float and participant was in one way or another, trying to touch and engage with someone. Some did it physically, some did visually. But either way their invitation was undeniable.


JohnMa 03 Unisons

Unison © John Ma

As you can see, some of the floats stuck very closely to their routines.


JohnMa 04 Neptune

Neptune © John Ma

Greek mythology would be so laid back if this guy had been a part of it.


JohnMa 05 Strokes

Strokes © John Ma

The Different Strokes Dragon Boat team.


JohnMa 06 Zoom

Zoom © John Ma

The night was zooming by and I didn’t want it to end too quickly.


JohnMa 07 Ruffles

Ruffles © John Ma

Luckily some of the paraders were less frenetic and took their time making their way along the parade route. Clearly not letting the hype ruffle their ruffles.


JohnMa 08 Baton

Baton © John Ma

It’s pretty safe to say that no baton was ever waved so eagerly before, nor after, this shot was taken.


JohnMa 09 Uniform

Uniform © John Ma

If you have a thing for men in uniforms… You’re very welcome. But for those who are a part of any long established institution where truly expressing yourself can be a difficult thing - This will hopefully give you some encouragement.


JohnMa 10 Glisten

Glisten © John Ma

Epically Drag.


JohnMa 11 Closets

Closets © John Ma

The metaphor was proud and clear and the colourful doors rolling down Oxford St provided a wonderfully surreal setting for me to photograph.


JohnMa 12 BeachBums

Beach Bums © John Ma

Lifesavers have been part of the Mardi Gras institution for a long long time. Budgie smugglers and little bikinis, twirling and twerking, shaking and grinding… I’m cool with that. 


JohnMa 13 Firebugs

Firebugs © John Ma

Emergency services was out in force, waving the flag high and representing the proud.


JohnMa 14 Precipitation

Precipitation © John Ma

Abstract installation art with a chance of local precipitation?


JohnMa 15 Twirl

Twirl © John Ma

There was so much twirling going around. And around. And around. And around…


JohnMa 16 CleanUpCrew

Clean Up Crew © John Ma

I don’t know who hired these guys to do the clean-up, but they did a pretty shitty job.


JohnMa 17 FollowTheGlitter

Follow The Glitter © John Ma

If there was any bright side the terrible job done by the Clean Up Crew, it was that finding your way to The Party of all parties was really really easy. Follow the glitter!


JohnMa 18 Maniacs

Maniacs © John Ma

Before we could get to The Party, I first had to dodge a horde of maniacs that were grabbing and running away with anything that wasn’t tied down.

13th March 2015 Written by John Ma Trending Fun

Mardi Gras 2015: Before the Parade

JohnMa 01 WaveIt

Wave It © John Ma

This year is my first year back after many years away from the event. I forgot how much I loved Mardi Gras and it reminded me of how much I had missed it.

The day started in the early afternoon. I went to Mr. Crackles to get my fix then headed down Oxford. When I got to Hyde Park, which is where all the floats were getting ready and warming up, everyone was getting into the spirit in the most passionate way!

This is one of the flag bearers. He was happy waving his flag. His happy, big green flag. His simple contentment made me happy and I think it made everyone else around him happier too.


JohnMa 02 Sparkles

Sparkles © John Ma

It ain’t no Mardi Gras without sparkles! I didn’t put any on and I still woke up the next day with sparkles in my bed.


JohnMa 03 BlownUp

Up © John Ma

Gusts of winds came up Liverpool St, carrying the balloons into my face and the perspective gave me this shot. This is just one of many more that I couldn’t fit them all here so I’ve curated them into an extended series on my Facebook page.


JohnMa 04 Victoria

Victoria © John Ma

Opera on Oxford.


JohnMa 05 HangOut

Show Off © John Ma

Clearly he was just trying to show off and objectify himself to the public. And clearly it worked.


JohnMa 06 But

Angles © John Ma

Drifting through the frenzy of people I felt someone tug on my arm. I turned to find a big toothy smile saying something to me that was drowned out by the music. And before I could ask her, she spun around and posed. Seeing the fun we were having, the girl in the bowler hat jumped into my frame and wanted a piece of the action. I kindly obliged, being the nice person I am.


JohnMa 07 Daffodils

Daffodils © John Ma

The Parade hadn’t started. These were just warm up poses.


JohnMa 08 Score

Score © John Ma

I think a lot of us can relate to this girl.


JohnMa 09 BBall

B-Ball © John Ma



JohnMa 10 Feast

Feast © John Ma

Gimps don’t just eat. They feast.


JohnMa 11 Line

The Line © John Ma

The girl in front of me growled with a heavy Irish accent at the people inside the cubicles to get out. And next to me was a tiny girl wearing a wrestling uniform. Her uncle, I think, was the wrestling club president. Surreal and uncomfortable is the simplest way to put it. 


JohnMa 12 DrumAndBags

Drums and Bags © John Ma

Ancient sounds and celtic garbs filled Hyde Park on a Sydney weekend. And kilts are just so cool!


JohnMa 13  Droogs

Droogs © John Ma

Viddy well, little brother. Viddy well…


JohnMa 14  Blush

Blush © John Ma

Kinda sorta made me blush.


JohnMa 15 Champagne

Champagne © John Ma

The city can be a fast moving, unblinking, cold hearted bitch. But Mardi Gras turned it into a bubble bath.


JohnMa 16 TopCop

Top Cop © John Ma

The top cop completes the final inspection.


JohnMa 17 TheBeginning

The Beginning © John Ma

The start of the parade down Oxford Street for the 37th time.


JohnMa 18 PotOfGold

Pot of Gold © John Ma

The end of the rainbow is here. Let’s go find that pot of gold.

6th March 2015 Written by John Ma Trending Conversation

Midnight Masquerades, Harbour Party by Night

JohnMa HarbourParty Night01

Cops are Tops © John Ma

Mr 5.0 was straight up framing dudes.


JohnMa HarbourParty Night02

Pick Up © John Ma

Some were very kind and offered me a ride on their shoulders.


JohnMa HarbourParty Night03

Skyline © John Ma

The view from up here ain’t that bad.


JohnMa HarbourParty Night04

Shine © John Ma

There were stars in attendance too… But they already get enough shine.


JohnMa HarbourParty Night05

Who Is This Girl © John Ma

This girl and her outfit though definitely did not get enough shine.


JohnMa HarbourParty Night06

Glitterland © John Ma

I think they came from Glitterland.


JohnMa HarbourParty Night07

Shoulders © John Ma

The view from there looks pretty decent too.


JohnMa HarbourParty Night08

Queue © John Ma

Take a ticket and head to the back of the queue please.


JohnMa HarbourParty Night09

Snacks © John Ma

Nom nom


JohnMa HarbourParty Night10

Centre of Attention © John Ma

She really really really wanted me to take a photo of her. Like really.


JohnMa HarbourParty Night11

Lime Light © John Ma

Everyone got a bit that night.


JohnMa HarbourParty Night12

Arm Candy © John Ma

And as it got later, some couples were craving a little alone time.


JohnMa HarbourParty Night13

Blurred © John Ma

I tried to stay lucid for as long as I could, but hey I’m human… And eventually things got blurry.


JohnMa HarbourParty Night14

Masquerade © John Ma

And when the masquerade came to an end and the crowd floated toward the exits, I walked past the great big disco ball and still thought it was pretty cool.

6th March 2015 Written by John Ma Trending Conversation

Summer Kissed, The Harbour Party by Day

JohnMa HarbourParty01

Gatecrashers © John Ma

The harbour view and the ocean breeze was spectacular in the most Australian way. The party kicked off in the early afternoon and went well into the night. But while the sunshine lasted, summer flirted with everyone.

If Fair Day had been a family affair, the Harbour Party was what happened when the kids went to bed. So as the babysitter minded the kids, the grown-ups played dress ups, and even the gatecrashers came in style.


JohnMa HarbourParty02

Dame © John Ma

And of course a Mardi Gras party wouldn’t be a party without a dame or two.


JohnMa HarbourParty03

Beachy © John Ma

Personally I found the beach chairs to be a godsend. I got to rest my feet while getting some shade, and practiced getting over brain freezes from the vodka mango slushy. 


JohnMa HarbourParty04

Disco © John Ma

When my brain unfroze I went back for seconds, then I looked up at a great big disco ball hanging over the Sydney skyline and thought that was one of the coolest things ever.


JohnMa HarbourParty05

Dujour © John Ma

Peace and love from DJ Du Jour.


JohnMa HarbourParty06

Harbour Party © John Ma

It would have been a good day even if the party ended right there and then. But wait… There’s more!


JohnMa HarbourParty07

Beefy © John Ma

The beefy crowds kept rolling in.


JohnMa HarbourParty08

Safe © John Ma

Is that bird? Is that a plane? No… It’s a fucking condom.


JohnMa HarbourParty09

Passion Gives You Wings © John Ma

After the floating condoms came the butterflies.


JohnMa HarbourParty10

Punter © John Ma

And then the shirts disappeared.


JohnMa HarbourParty11

Banana Boat © John Ma

For some, the party peaked a little too early.


JohnMa HarbourParty12

Smoke on the Water © John Ma

For others, the real party had just started.


JohnMa HarbourParty13

Interlude © John Ma

The setting sun felt somewhat like an interlude. The briefest of interludes…


JohnMa HarbourParty14

The Horde © John Ma

Since the sweaty restless crowd and inpatient night had waited long enough.

25th February 2015 Written by John Ma Trending Conversation

Pride in the Park, Fair Day

John Ma HelloStranger

Hello Stranger © John Ma

I ventured into Fair Day as a blank canvas. I wanted to experience the event through what I encountered alone, and so I avoided any PR material that was available to me. As I walked onto the grounds of the park I was immediately greeted by characters that only our special Mardi Gras can bring out.


John Ma AllYouNeedIsLove

All You Need Is Love © John Ma

It’s heart-warming to see our future generations so colour blind and oblivious to the present divisions of our society. At a time when the adults are arguing amongst themselves because of the walls we’ve built up along the way. These little ones are emerging through the noise and learning about the world by seeing that all you need is love.


John Ma UnitedColours

United Colours © John Ma

Not surprisingly there was sass everywhere that day.


John Ma SomeDontNeedAStage

Some Don’t Need a Stage © John Ma

See… I told you so.


John Ma Diva

Divas © John Ma

A large part of the fabulousness of Mardi Gras comes from the drag queens. The flamboyance and colour of these beautiful ladies are iconic to their image. So when capturing Kara Zmatiq during her performance, I wanted to visualise her in a way that wasn’t dressed by the usual symbols. This black and white image was to me, a way of seeing these talented ladies as a timeless classic.


John Ma MonkeySee

Monkey See © John Ma

PDA (public displays of affection) at any Mardi Gras event is never an issue. And if you had an issue with it… Too bad!


John Ma Marilyn

Marilyn © John Ma

As I peered through my lens and watched the crowds all day long, seeing face after face glide past my view, this lovely little lady reminded me that sometimes I’m not the only one watching.


John Ma Heels

Heels © John Ma

Some girls complain about the pain that their heels give them after a night out… some girls.


John Ma Fairday

Fair Day © John Ma

Is there a better feeling than the arms of a loved one holding you close?


John Ma DoTheRightThing
Do The Right Thing © John Ma

Not everything was about glamour. Sometimes it’s a case of a round peg in a square hole, and you just have to make it work.


John Ma Encore

Encore © John Ma

Fair Day was filled with commotion and jam-packed with acts and performances. But even as the last light of the day started to fade, for some that only meant that it was time for their encore.


John Ma GoodbyeStranger

Goodbye Stranger © John Ma

I couldn’t help but smile when just as I was leaving Fair Day, I caught my welcoming party on the other side of the road leaving as well. Still very much in character and with all the exuberance of the day, this lovely lady seemed to remember me and gave me one last hurrah. This frozen goodbye only made me look forward to the next event that leads us just a little bit closer to the final parade.