As I mentioned in the last post I was in Collins Barracks the other night photographing the Macnas show, On The Edge Of Things Is A Fierce Beauty, which closed off this year’s Absolut Fringe festival. I had been scouting out the location during the week and discussing it with the site manager at Collins Barracks, trying to figure out if there would be an elevated vantage point that I could shoot from. It looked like it was going to be a problem as the square in which the show was to take place is surrounded on all sides by buildings that make up the Museum Of Decorative Arts and History. The museum itself was to be closed on the night and I didn’t hold out much hope that I was going to be allowed to wander around inside on my own.
However, as soon as I got to the site at the appointed time, I got chatting to the security guy for the museum and explained what I wanted to do. He brought me inside and suggested a number of places that I could shoot from. One of them was a window that I had spotted earlier in the week – right in the centre above the main entrance to the square, and he was quite happy for me to shoot the show from there. Not only that, he went off and got some tools to get the window open, which was jammed shut. Some people are just extraordinarily helpful. Perhaps less helpfully though, as I followed him up and down the empty corridors of the museum while he unlocked doors and turned on lights, he started telling me about ghostly goings on, unexplained noises and other phenomena that the staff had occasionally witnessed when in there at night. Then he left me there.
The Macnas show itself was some spectacle. The photograph above is a 13 minute exposure taken during the earlier part of it. Having never taken one of these shots outdoors at night before I wasn’t sure whether it would work or not, so I was pretty relieved when this came out of the tank. All the light trails that can be seen are created by the performers walking through the crowd carrying torches or other light sources. The large plume of light at the back is caused by fireworks. I’ve had the idea for quite a while of photographing these sorts of large public gatherings but I didn’t expect that the first one I did would be in such spectacular surroundings and have so much interesting stuff going on in it. I owe a big debt of thanks to the people who helped me make this happen: Karolina at Blow Magazine; Orla, Seamus and Sean at the Museum, and Sharon at Macnas. This picture, along with two others from the night, was published in the final issue of Blow Magazine’s Absolut Fringe coverage. Click on the picture above to see it all.