Launch of Man, Machine and a Mountain exhibition

Launch of Man, Machine and a Mountain exhibition

The setting was perfect. Cape Town’s usually moody weather was timid and calm and the trendy Youngblood gallery on Bree Street was the ideal canvas for Gary Hirson’s launch of his Man, Machine and a Mountain photographic exhibition.


Man, Machine and a Mountain photographic exhibition at the Youngblood gallery.

For the past 15 years, Hirson’s lens has been focused on our annual maintenance shutdown and the people who keep our Cableway running smoothly. Dangling safely alongside the maintenance crew, he has been at the centre of the shutdown action. 

During the media launch of the Man, Machine and a Mountain exhibition, Hirson dove into the intricate relationship that the shutdown teams have with the Cableway. He also spoke about the importance of an operation of this scale: “This maintenance shutdown happens for the safety of the running of the cable car and the public don’t really know about it,” he said. “This exhibition makes people aware of what happens on the mountain.”


Gary Hirson runs exhibition opening guests through his years as the shutdown photographer.

Hirson has been with our shutdown teams during the changing and cleaning of cables, evacuation and safety procedure practices, and when maintenance operations were done on our lower and top Cableway stations. 

Hirson’s close friends Dave and Debbie Mac were in attendance at the launch. “I’m here to support Gary, one of my oldest friends,” said Dave. “I was really impressed tonight, listening to him talk about all the technical aspects, because that’s the thing about Gary, about why he took up photography – he understands both the artistic side and the technical side.”

When she first heard about her friend being commissioned to cover the shutdowns, Debbie says she thought he was tempting fate. “‘Madness!’ I said to him. ‘Gary, what are you thinking?’ But his work is absolutely amazing. He’s really captured moments of the cable car and the maintenance of it. For me, the guys balancing on the cables is one of my favourite images,” said Debbie. 


Close friends Dave and Debbie Mac attended the exhibition to support Gary Hirson.

Gary’s exhibition fits perfectly into our 90th-anniversary celebrations as we aim to highlight the people who have contributed to keeping our Table Mountain Aerial Cableway safe and enjoyable for all. 

The Man, Machine and a Mountain exhibition is open to the public and can be viewed at the Youngblood gallery until Sunday 29 March 2020. Hirson’s book, Changing the Lines, is also on sale, and a preview of the content can be found on his website

This year, the Cableway will be closed from Tuesday 7 July to Sunday 26 July for the annual maintenance shutdown.

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