OFF Programme: Exhibitions

Home » Programme » Traces Of The Real by Hugh McCabe
Traces Of The Real by Hugh McCabe
Traces Of The Real is an exhibition of song exposure photographs taken by Hugh McCabe over the course of a year in Dublin music venues. A song exposure photograph is a photograph of the performance of a song, and is created by opening the shutter at the start of the song, and then closing it at the end. The resulting images capture the stages and equipment in vivid detail but cast the performers and audiences as fluid, transient and ghostlike presences in front of the lens. The aim of the series is to explore the notion of temporality within photographic representation, and to question the idea that photographs should correspond to discrete, frozen moments in time.

The inspiration came from renowned Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Theaters series. In this project, Sugimoto set up his camera at the back of ornate movie palaces in New York and other US cities, opened his shutter at the start of the film, and closed it at the end. The light from the projected movie becomes the light source for the photographic exposure and illuminates all corners of the theater over the duration of the film. Traces Of The Real started as an exploration of how this idea could be applied to live music concerts and evolved into an attempt to answer the following questions: can one take a photograph of a song? If so, what would it look like?

The photographs were shot in a number of different venues: including Vicar Street, The National Concert Hall, Grand Canal Theatre, The Village, The Button Factory and Whelan’s. A wide variety of artists were photographed in this manner: including The Frames, Adebisi Shank, Villagers, Whale Watching, Beach House, The Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra, Sea Dog, Yeh Deadlies and many more.
The images are created using a mix of old and new technology. They are shot using a large format film camera fixed onto a tripod on the balcony. This produces a 5” by 4” negative which is digitized to give an image of enormously high resolution. These images are then printed by fine art printer David Monahan and mounted onto aluminum compound (dibond) panels.

About the Photographer

Hugh McCabe spent more than fifteen years involved in the Dublin music scene, before turning to photography. He completed the Certificate in Photography and Digital Imaging at NCAD in 2010 and has participated in a number of group exhibitions. Traces Of The Real is his first solo exhibition.


Opening: 7pm 1 July
Dates: 1 – 25 July
Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 5pm till late
(Closed on Mondays)

The Workmans Club (Upstairs)
10 Wellington Quay
Dublin 2

Location Map

Leave a Reply

Quick Listing:

Find out what to do and where to go today,
all in one quick list:
What's on Today

Other events of interest