You may have recently stumbled upon some downward perspective photography of feet dangling off the top of a skyscraper or high-rise. Those vertigo-inducing photos are achieved through what people call “rooftopping”, a fairly new trend we’ve seen amongst our photography community. Though the outcomes of the photos can be quite impressive, this photography phenomenon has gained a dicey reputation, considering the many risk factors behind it.

Rooftoppers are not like other photographers, being that their profession or hobby requires them to climb on unknown construction cranes, or even hang off 50-story buildings for a shot. Also the circumstances involved in this photography makes it in fact illegal. Unless you have ties to the building you’re about to scale or hang off of, it’s considered trespassing. Not to mention, the danger you might put the public in or the first responder who may have to save you from a hazardous situation.

So in conclusion, there is a lot to carefully consider and prepare for before you take on such a project on, for example, will I get arrested for the shot? Or even worse, will I die or get hurt someone else? It’s crucial to understand that your safety is never guaranteed while rooftopping, even as cautious as you may be. This photography certainly takes a person with a thirst for thrill and big cojones. 

On another note, the unfortunate truth behind this extreme photograph  is that there have been recorded deaths behind it. Just last month a famous Chinese “rooftopping” enthusiast died on camera after he fell from a 62-story building. It had been just another day for Wu Yongning, recording his daily daredevil stunts. Although Yongning did these fearless challenges on a regular basis, the lack of safety equipment played a big factor in his death. It’s one thing to take a photo off from the ledge of a skyscraper with a safety harness intact, but doing pushups off one of tallest building in China with nothing to rely on but your strength and grip is another.

We can only the hope the tragic story about Yongning makes people more conscience of rooftopping and how one false move could end your life. Furthermore, for all you risk-takers with a passion for this field of photography: take precautions and use safety equipment, for your sake and others!