Vivid Festival lights up Sydney

Sydney’s Vivid Festival has become one of the annual highlights of Australia’s biggest city. Started originally in 2009 as a festival to show off the merits of “smart” lights and energy efficiency, over the past seven years it has become a global gathering for some of the most creative minds around, fusing lights, music, creativity and technology all together under the same sparkling umbrella.

But it’s the lights that remain Vivid’s biggest drawcard, not least those around Sydney’s iconic harbour. The Opera House becomes a blank canvas for some of the most mesmerising video projections you could ever hope to see, and other buildings such as Customs House and the Museum of Contemporary Art also receive the same colourful treatment. The entire city is lit in various colours so that from a distance, it appears to be a shimmering jewel, rising from the waters at its edge, and of course the Harbour Bridge is also a major centrepiece.

George Street, Darling Harbour and Martin Place also feature some excellent installations, and some destinations outside the centre of Sydney have also been opened up to Vivid’s electrical eclecticism, including Central Park — which some may already know is a favourite destination of mine — and Chatswood, one of Sydney’s northern centre’s.

Vivid also touts itself as a festival of ideas, and has become Asia Pacific’s default “celebration of innovation, creativity and community”, if you believe what the PR machine says. Vivid Music has also brought some mind-blowing experiences to Sydney over the years, and I was lucky enough myself to sit at an intimate talk with legendary music photographer Kevin Cummins inside the Opera House, just ahead of a show being performed by New Order, one of the bands he is most closely associated with shooting.

Indeed after that talk, my friends and I — newly inspired — decided to walk around the Opera House’s surrounds and take a few snaps for ourselves, of which these are the results. I didn’t have a tripod, so got a bit creative with exposures, bursts and blurs, but hopefully it gives you an idea of how visually spectacular this 23-day extravaganza really is.

Vivid Festival in pictures: CLICK or TAP on the pictures, depending on your device, for a better view