As the rainstorm grows more intense, the two men cling to one another, a flimsy black umbrella their sole protection against the deluge.

It is an image of quiet calm in the storm that dramatically cut short Fair Day in Victoria Park in February.

And it has earned Fiona Morris a place in outdoor photography exhibition Sydney Life, part of the City of Sydney’s annual Art & About cultural festival that opens next Tuesday.

An oversize version of Morris’s atmospheric black-and-white shot will hang in Hyde Park North alongside photos from 25 other finalists, including gay photographer William Yang.

The 450 photographers who entered works in the exhibition this year were challenged to capture a moment of city life that engaged and intrigued.

The shock of the late afternoon Fair Day downpour fitted the bill for Morris.

I wasn’t there for the whole day, so I arrived to get some photos and it just started raining as soon as I got there, she said.

I thought -˜Oh no’. But everyone was still in a really good mood, and there was lightning and thunder. People were still laughing and hanging around.

And then I saw those two men huddled together under this black umbrella and they really stood out.

They were kind of still, and everyone else was moving and running around them. But they stayed in that one spot for about five minutes.

This was like a really quiet, intimate moment between both of them, and really loving.

It was a bit different to what I had usually seen.

Morris regularly covers the Mardi Gras parade and festivals like Fair Day because you can always get great photos of really interesting people.

The Sydney Life judges agreed, and Morris stands to win $5,000 if her photo is named the exhibition’s most outstanding at the Art & About launch on Tuesday.

A win would be one up on last year’s event, where Morris’s shot of two women embracing at a Reclaim the Streets march was also a finalist.

But the Sydney-born freelancer said the prospect of exhibiting her work so publicly was more enticing.

[Gay life] is just such a big part of Sydney so it’s something that needs to be recorded.

I’m just glad to be in the exhibition, because so many people see it and it’s good exposure.

Art & About runs from 4 to 23 October and includes various public art events. For more information visit the Art & About website.

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