Updated: Jun 18
✦ Transforming Sydney for 23 days and nights from May 26 to June 17, Vivid Sydney is an annual celebration of creativity, innovation and technology. Brilliant's Chrissy Jones visited Sydney and shares her Vivid experiences.
In its 13th year in 2023, I experienced Vivid for the first time, something I have wanted to experience for many years, and I wasn’t disappointed. A highlight was the awe inspiring Customs House display, “Inside Out”.
The facade of the building was transformed into a mesmerising mix of geometric shapes and patterns, florals, birdlife and bold colours. A celebration of Australian interior design, featuring beautiful hand-drawn wallpaper and fabrics from the post-World War II era projected onto the exterior of Customs house - bringing the inside out!
A walk around Circular Quay was enthralling with something to see, experience, smell or taste at every turn. From the European cheese expo to the sights and sounds of the harbour, my senses were spoiled.
Sydney Opera House’s sails certainly didn’t disappoint, illuminated with late Australian artist John Olsen's vibrant paintings depicting his interest and fascination with Australia’s nature and landscape.
Biggest in the Southern Hemisphere to date, the drone shows, “Written in the Stars’ were simply amazing. They explored the solar system, from the Sun to Jupiter, with many surprises along the way. A magnificent display of light combined with technology in the sky above.
The Museum of Contemporary Art was lit up with Barerarerungar, the work of Yorta Yorta/Wamba Wamba/Mutti Mutti/Boonwurrung artist Maree Clarke. Thousands of people stood in awe of the artwork that was illuminated on the building.
I partook in a short walk on the 8.5km stretch of “Light Walk” which started at the Sydney Opera House and continued all the way to Central Station. The walk featured over 49 installations and 3D projections.
Vivid Sydney 2023 fused art, innovation and technology in collaboration with some of the most boundary-pushing artists, thinkers, musicians and culinary experts of our time.
There were nightly drone shows, a roaring waterfall and giant glowing native animals including koalas, dingoes, kangaroos, emus and platypuses designed by Wiradjuri artist Nathan Peckham at Taronga Zoo's Wild Lights at Taronga.
If you missed out this year, be sure to mark your calendar for late May to Mid June and earmark a trip to Sydney, I have and am looking forward to a return visit in 2024.
Catch up with Karen Williamson of Oz Land Photos
Karen's camera has been spoiled for choice over the years, from the amazing array of brilliant lights flashing, zigzagging and bursting all over iconic landmarks across the city during Vivid.
“I have stood at the same spot every year for 13 years at the Sydney Overseas Terminal and captured the Lighting of the Sails. It's different every year but each year the canvas reflects the essence of Australia,“ Karen said.
For the past 13 years she has seen Vivid grow, not only the magnificent array of light displays, but the crowds have grown to include not only locals, but overseas visitors.
Karen’s favourite spots to photograph during Vivid
Top of the list is Taronga Zoo, closely followed by Circular Quay taking in the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Luna Park, Botanic Gardens and the Rocks precinct.
She told us, “Taronga Zoo is good because it has all the lights and features endangered animals. I've taken photos at the Zoo during Vivid for three years now, I love the atmosphere.“
On her agenda this year is a ferry trip to Barangaroo that is home to Vivid House, an immersive 360 experience featuring four awe-inspiring artworks, as well a series of stunning installations that are said to take you on a journey through the elements.
Vivid Sydney hits a lot of high notes, but the dazzling light projections are what make people, tourists and Sydneysiders alike, flock to the foreshore. This year, a whopping 11 Sydney CBD locations are lighting up with a kaleidoscopic display of lasers, art projections, and lights.
Karen also visited the unused Wynyard Station tunnels. A 900-metre long Dark Spectrum immersive experience where she explored eight rooms illuminated with world-class lasers, robotics, lighting and visual technology set to a dynamic soundtrack.
“Each room took inspiration from a specific human experience and associated colour, like separation, pressure, the unfamiliar and a revelation," she recalled. "It was a spectacular experience.“
Born and raised in California, Karen is an avid traveller. She was captivated by Australia on one of her trips and chose to make it home.
“Its rustic beauty and diversity left an imprint on me – the juxtaposition of its modern cities with its cultural outback has provided me with wonderfully rich material for my work.”
A self taught photographer, she says that the power of photography is the ability to capture fleetingly beautiful moments and magically make time stand still.
“My new series is a set of inspirational quotes on photographs I have taken. They are what I love to photograph most – land, sea, sunsets/sunrises, full moons. Nature provides all sorts of varied textures and tones I can play with and a beautiful source of inspiration,“ she told us.
Karen loves using her photographs to tell stories and portray emotions that people can identify and relate to. She has been a professional photographer for the past six years or so and sells greeting cards, enlarged prints and exclusive tea-towels at markets and shops around Sydney and various shops in her old home town of Port Macquarie.
A unique offering
Karen has produced a range of tea towels. 100% Australian Made cotton tea towels reproduced with a selection of her works. There are three images to choose from, Vivid - featuring the Harbour Bridge, Palm Beach and Avalon Beach.
Oz Land Photo gifts are available at these Port Macquarie centres:
Bookface, 40/42 Horton St, Port Macquarie
World Par Tea, 2/1 Hay St, Port Macquarie
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