Happy Mardi Gras! By C. Moore Hardy

Mardi Gras is around the corner so FIB decided to have a chat with C. Moore Hardy at her photo exhibition. Happy Mardi Gras! is a cheerful celebration of the gay and lesbian parades through the years.

Credit: C. Moore Hardy

C. Moore Hardy is a Sydney-based documentary photographer. She studied Arts Management at the University of Technology of Sydney. Feminist, LGBT’s rights activist, artist, nurse, and role model: these are the hats that C. Moore Hardy is wearing. Her work, which you can currently see at the Surry Hills Library, is as lively as her personality. We had the pleasure to meet her and discuss her work…

Your photographs of the parade are very diverse. Are you looking for particular elements to capture?
I look for an issue. I try not only to focus on aesthetics, but also on content. Even though there are plenty of gorgeous costumes, I look more for interesting messages on boards, different subcultures mixing, or families. I want my pictures to express a message.

You have attended and photographed Mardi Gras parades since the 80s… How do you think they’re evolving?
Lots of things have changed. It started more as a protest march and it has now become a huge touristic event with different sponsors. However, the main spirit hasn’t changed: it is still all about humour, costumes and happiness.

Do you think the protest aspect of the parade has become less important because the whole situation has got better?
There is some progress indeed but our community is still banned and rejected in many countries. It is touching to see people coming from countries such as Thailand and Japan to celebrate Mardi Gras in Sydney because it is banned where they come from. Homosexuality is still a huge issue in many Asian, South-American and African countries, so we have to fight for these people’s rights.

Have gay and lesbian rights been a driving force for you to become a photographer?
I think society needs more role models. As a woman, and a feminist, I think that we need to document history. When you look at the past, you can find enormous amounts of works that were mainly written by men. But how many were written by women? I think it is important that women start to write history too.

Mardi Gras is on Saturday, what are your plans?
Taking photos… Lots of photos! From rehearsals, to the parade and the after-party, Mardi Gras used to be a 24-hour day of work. But I am getting too old for this now, so I just stick to the parade.

Happy Mardi Gras!
3 February – 27 March
Surry Hills Library
405 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Free entrance