Cape Town - The Table Mountain cableway has carried millions of South African residents and international tourists to and from Table Mountain for nearly 100 years, and its technical behind-the-scenes excellence is on display at the Swiss Museum of Transport.
Between 2005 and 2020, South African photographer Gary Hirson has been capturing the untold stories and amazing feats of the cableway. It marks the first time an African engineering display will be showcased at the museum.
Wahida Parker, managing director of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMACC), said they approached Hirson to document the company’s annual shutdown activities.
She said the public had never before seen the efforts undertaken to ensure their safety, when they ride the cableway to and from Table Mountain.
Hirson spent many hours sideby-side with the technicians as they worked on the maintenance and was something few others could match.
“The idea of being the only photographer to be able to capture the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of the people working in a unique environment, in extreme weather conditions, to ensure the mechanical safety of the cable cars, was an adventure I could not pass up. It has been one of the highlights and an honour in my career,” he said.
Switzerland is seen as the leading country in cable car safety, which adds extra significance to Hirson’s work being on display there.
The display was an opportunity to take one of the seven wonders of the world to Europe and showcase TMACC’s extraordinary work in ensuring people’s safety.
Hirson wanted to demonstrate a narrative through visuals and show a human connection of man versus machine, adding that he was allowed to do so through his art.
The exhibition started in April and will be on display permanently.
The museum highlighted 32 of Hirson’s images, split between printed and digital display, in touchscreen format.
The visuals can be found at: https://garyhirson.com/photography/ exhibitions/museum-of-transportlucerne-switzerland/