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Color Run Sydney (Olympic Park)

Published: October 21, 2020

Updated: October 4, 2022

Color tends to corrupt photography and absolute color corrupts it absolutely. Consider the way color film usually renders blue sky, green foliage, lipstick red, and the kiddies' playsuit. These are four simple words which must be whispered: color photography is vulgar.

Is color photography vulgar?

Well, as some master photographers may suggest so, in my little journey I found color to be absolutely delightful. Color has unique qualities. Color brings life, it reminds me of festivity – of joy and happiness. I have been fortunate enough to participate in some of these very colorful events in the past and today I will be focusing on one such event – color run.

Color run is celebrated worldwide and here in Sydney it’s called 5k (kilometer) fun run which is mostly celebrated by young teenager boys and girls. I participated this event back in February 2015. Interestingly, in my country (Bangladesh) we have similar occasions like Holi Festival but this was not as boisterous and raucous as we do overseas. Regardless, it’s an event worth visiting.

The last time I went to this event, it was early during the day with a large crowd gathering at Sydney Olympic Park – boys, girls, toddlers and even babies with prams along with their parents. Unlike Holi festival however, it didn’t last for the whole day. It started in the morning around 9am and finished about the lunchtime (around 1pm). The crowd was not huge but moderately large and there is no water being thrown at others.

One particular aspect of the Holi Festival was that the color pigments were mixed with water which would then be thrown at others making them look totally unique and sometimes very different. The pigments will be rubbed against the palms of the hand with a little amount of water making it a thick paste and as people walk past, they will then be targeted for some fun-assault! Whether they like it not, their face, hands, and even whole body will then be rubbed with those pigment-laid hands making them look totally like aliens!

However, unlike those victims of Holi festival, you have a fair bit of chance to stay fresh after this fun run is over. This 5k run is filled with colorful pigments that are mostly dry and it is something that perhaps the whole family can enjoy.

One unique characteristics of this delightful expression of life is the energy – the mingling of classes, ages, sexes, languages and ethnicities. The most wonderful aspect of living in a truly multi-cultural society is to come in touch with such feelings of shared bondage which is quite astonishing.

I'm not an abstractionist. I'm not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.

The friendliness and the fun vibe that is played all along during this exchange is something to be experienced time and time again. After the run is over, the crowd will then be greeted by the dancing tunes of some well-known artists. The ecstasy of the mums and dads will be part of this while the teenagers will be rocking at the concert, jumping on top of each other, throwing those pigments into the air, waving their hands along with those tunes and singing at the loudest of their lungs. Not only those dry powders but rather some more will fill the air making it a scene of joy, color, fun and excitement!

We are all little children inside. All of us has these little boys and girls hiding inside us waiting for that moment to take us back those carefree days of childhood where we are stripped of all our anxieties, and we can all play together as much as we would like. And this occasion can surely make you feel like those little boys or girls that you wish to be.

In short, if you want to forget the mundane routines of life even for but a moment this is surely a good place to start. And of course, you must be prepared to capture those wonderful memories so you can savor them later – much, much later – days, months and even decades on.

To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.

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