A look back at 2021 through the lenses of Orlando Weekly's photographers

The eyes have it! Here is a sampling of strange, beautiful, powerful and unique moments captured by a cadre of Orlando Weekly's shutterbugs: Matt Lehman, Gianna Aceto, Jim Leatherman, Ian Suarez and J.D. Casto.

Photos by Jim Leatherman, Matt Lehman, Gianna Aceto, J.D. Casto, Matthew Moyer
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Bans Off My Body March, Oct. 2, Downtown Orlando 
Photo by Matt Keller Lehman
Following Texas’ controversial abortion ban, Orlando came out strong making it clear that lawmakers need to keep their “Bans Off” our bodies. ”One of the many things I love about Orlando are the fervent voices. Step away from the noise of theme park entertainment and you’ll find a whole new city, confidently maxing out their megaphones for both peace and war, when needed,” recalls Lehman.
Jim Leatherman, Matt Lehman, Gianna Aceto, J.D. Casto, Matthew Moyer
Bans Off My Body March, Oct. 2, Downtown Orlando
Photo by Matt Keller Lehman

Following Texas’ controversial abortion ban, Orlando came out strong making it clear that lawmakers need to keep their “Bans Off” our bodies. ”One of the many things I love about Orlando are the fervent voices. Step away from the noise of theme park entertainment and you’ll find a whole new city, confidently maxing out their megaphones for both peace and war, when needed,” recalls Lehman.
Come Out With Pride Parade, Oct. 9, Downtown Orlando
Photo by J.D. Casto
Orlando’s Come Out With Pride roared back this year bigger and better than ever, and we feel this shot captured the celebratory vibe perfectly. “These gentlemen were doing flips and splits and all of these acrobatic moves. I just walked with them for about 50 or 60 yards trying to capture them in mid-air. I got lucky. This was the only frame that was in focus,” remembers Casto.
Jim Leatherman, Matt Lehman, Gianna Aceto, J.D. Casto, Matthew Moyer
Come Out With Pride Parade, Oct. 9, Downtown Orlando
Photo by J.D. Casto

Orlando’s Come Out With Pride roared back this year bigger and better than ever, and we feel this shot captured the celebratory vibe perfectly. “These gentlemen were doing flips and splits and all of these acrobatic moves. I just walked with them for about 50 or 60 yards trying to capture them in mid-air. I got lucky. This was the only frame that was in focus,” remembers Casto.
Ricky Martin at the Amway Center, Oct. 30 
Photo by Gianna Aceto
Though it was technically a co-headlining date with Enrique Iglesias, the night fully belonged to Martin (also an ambassador for Orlando’s OnePulse) and his frankly incredible stagewear. “Ricky Martin is a great performer and gave me lots of motions to work with. His outfit was great for fluid shots because of the way he interacted with it. He knows how to capture a crowd and put on a show!” says Aceto.
Jim Leatherman, Matt Lehman, Gianna Aceto, J.D. Casto, Matthew Moyer
Ricky Martin at the Amway Center, Oct. 30
Photo by Gianna Aceto

Though it was technically a co-headlining date with Enrique Iglesias, the night fully belonged to Martin (also an ambassador for Orlando’s OnePulse) and his frankly incredible stagewear. “Ricky Martin is a great performer and gave me lots of motions to work with. His outfit was great for fluid shots because of the way he interacted with it. He knows how to capture a crowd and put on a show!” says Aceto.
Shaq Diesel at the Vanguard Live, July 23 
Photo by Matt Keller Lehman
This photo from the summer of Shaq mingling with the crowd at his DJ gig is like a Rorschach test for how you view 2021. Is Shaq sad? Is this a commentary on celebrity culture? Does the crush of the crowd frighten or exhilarate you? “I always hate it when my friends ruin Waldo’s whereabouts. He’s a tough find. Just back off and let me concentrate. I’ll figure it out. Shaq went full incognito prior to his set at the Vanguard. Shhhhhh ...” says Lehman.
Jim Leatherman, Matt Lehman, Gianna Aceto, J.D. Casto, Matthew Moyer
Shaq Diesel at the Vanguard Live, July 23
Photo by Matt Keller Lehman

This photo from the summer of Shaq mingling with the crowd at his DJ gig is like a Rorschach test for how you view 2021. Is Shaq sad? Is this a commentary on celebrity culture? Does the crush of the crowd frighten or exhilarate you? “I always hate it when my friends ruin Waldo’s whereabouts. He’s a tough find. Just back off and let me concentrate. I’ll figure it out. Shaq went full incognito prior to his set at the Vanguard. Shhhhhh ...” says Lehman.
Big Jef Special at Henry’s Depot, Oct. 30 
Photo by Jim Leatherman
Though lacking the celeb bombast of Shaq, we adore this picture featuring three notorious OG Orlando musicians — Nadeem Khan, Jef Shumard and Jeff Nolan — going hard. “Humid Florida day on a hot black asphalt parking lot, looking through the viewfinder during the final seconds of one of their songs, Big Jef makes the big leap,” says Leatherman.
Jim Leatherman, Matt Lehman, Gianna Aceto, J.D. Casto, Matthew Moyer
Big Jef Special at Henry’s Depot, Oct. 30
Photo by Jim Leatherman

Though lacking the celeb bombast of Shaq, we adore this picture featuring three notorious OG Orlando musicians — Nadeem Khan, Jef Shumard and Jeff Nolan — going hard. “Humid Florida day on a hot black asphalt parking lot, looking through the viewfinder during the final seconds of one of their songs, Big Jef makes the big leap,” says Leatherman.
Bryan Danielson at AEW Dynamite Taping, Oct. 23, Addition Financial Arena
Photo by J.D. Casto
Jim Leatherman, Matt Lehman, Gianna Aceto, J.D. Casto, Matthew Moyer
Bryan Danielson at AEW Dynamite Taping, Oct. 23, Addition Financial Arena
Photo by J.D. Casto
Donzii at Uncle Lou’s Entertainment Hall, Sept. 9 
Photo by Matthew Moyer
Miami post-punk firebrands Donzii held a packed Uncle Lou’s rapt with their Siouxsie-esque fury back in September. “My non-technique is based on using cheap disposable cameras, taking a deep breath and hoping for the best. Donzii are one of the best live bands in Florida and I was obsessed with capturing their eerie aesthetic that night,” remembers Moyer.
Jim Leatherman, Matt Lehman, Gianna Aceto, J.D. Casto, Matthew Moyer
Donzii at Uncle Lou’s Entertainment Hall, Sept. 9
Photo by Matthew Moyer Miami post-punk firebrands Donzii held a packed Uncle Lou’s rapt with their Siouxsie-esque fury back in September. “My non-technique is based on using cheap disposable cameras, taking a deep breath and hoping for the best. Donzii are one of the best live bands in Florida and I was obsessed with capturing their eerie aesthetic that night,” remembers Moyer.
Eugene Snowden's Drums of Umoja at Will's Pub, Aug. 26
Photo by Jim Leatherman
Jim Leatherman, Matt Lehman, Gianna Aceto, J.D. Casto, Matthew Moyer
Eugene Snowden's Drums of Umoja at Will's Pub, Aug. 26
Photo by Jim Leatherman
Electric Daisy Carnival at Tinker Field, Nov. 13
Photo by Matt Keller Lehman
Jim Leatherman, Matt Lehman, Gianna Aceto, J.D. Casto, Matthew Moyer
Electric Daisy Carnival at Tinker Field, Nov. 13
Photo by Matt Keller Lehman
The Hives at the House of Blues, Oct. 20 
Photo by Jim Leatherman
When Swedish garage-rockers the Hives came to town, we almost forgot all our pandemic woes in a flash of stomping garage rock. “Howlin’ Pelle spent a lot of time in the crowd. This pic was him all the way towards the back of the floor, near the sound booth with the mic cord stretched to the max … up close and personal with the back row of people. An odd sight in these COVID times,” reflects Leatherman.
Jim Leatherman, Matt Lehman, Gianna Aceto, J.D. Casto, Matthew Moyer
The Hives at the House of Blues, Oct. 20
Photo by Jim Leatherman

When Swedish garage-rockers the Hives came to town, we almost forgot all our pandemic woes in a flash of stomping garage rock. “Howlin’ Pelle spent a lot of time in the crowd. This pic was him all the way towards the back of the floor, near the sound booth with the mic cord stretched to the max … up close and personal with the back row of people. An odd sight in these COVID times,” reflects Leatherman.