Bernadette McCabe

Capturing the subject’s gaze: The photography of Bernadette McCabe

The complexity and simplicity of human nature fascinates documentary photographer, Bernadette McCabe. Emotive subjects, whose eyes hint at hidden stories, are of particular interest to her. She likens her practise to being a fly on the wall. Within her images there is an honesty, which she attributes to being open with the subject and asking them to look at the camera without trying to impose a particular attitude or image. 

“Strangers are actually my most favourite to photograph. There are no preconceived ideas or expectations. I prefer to capture unposed, images using natural light. I like to be unobtrusive or to go completely unnoticed. There have been times in certain places though that people have gotten upset because of a belief in a camera capturing their soul. In the case of my Pollsmoor Prison project I had to have pre-organised permission forms to photograph people. While outside in the world, depending on the usage of the photograph I do have to carry permission forms with me. This often takes away from the spontaneity and makes for a far less genuine image. People feel they must pose for a camera. So I would say that that is the greatest challenge,” she says. 

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Between 10 and 5