Everyday Superheroes Dangling Off A Skyskcraper

by Karin GottschalkLeave a Comment

Photographer and trained stuntman Benjamin von Wong has celebrated everyday heroes by dressing them up in superhero costumes and photographing them posed on the top of a San Francisco skyscraper overlooking Market Street. He shares the results and tells the tale via his SmugMug-hosted website and SmugMug Films’ YouTube channel.

One of the other things I do in life besides writing and making movies and photographs is volunteer in the health and human rights sector. I am struck by the extreme courage that people affected by healthcare and human rights shortcomings demonstrate through the simple act of living, by simply being themselves.

The lives and stories of the everyday heroes to whom I am exposed through volunteering inspires my moviemaking and stills photography. Heroes are all around us and I try to depict that in my own rather subtle way.

Benjamin von Wong’s way of communicating the same message is far more spectacular than mine. He wanted “to capture the fearlessness of superheroes,” he says, “but without using a green screen or cheap special effects”. [bctt tweet=”Von Wong astounds with photos of everyday superheroes perched on top of a San Francisco skyscraper.”]

“And the simplest way to do that,” he elaborates, “was to place them on the edge of certain death”. Something only a trained stuntman and an equally well-trained crew could even consider taking on.

The results are amazing. The generosity von Wong affords to his subjects, their desire to be seen as who they are inside, and their safety, is impressive. And he is generous, too, in sharing why he did it and how he did it via behind-the-scenes stills and movies. Enjoy!

Superheroes on Skyscrapers – Benjamin Von Wong


How I Photographed Superheroes On The Edge Of A Skyscraper

Via Von Wong:

I chose a group of everyday people— SmugMug employees — for this photo shoot. These weren’t professional stuntmen. Just dads, engineers and customer service people.

Superheroes on Skyscrapers

To do this shoot, they would have to face their fear of heights — a primal fear built into people.

To be up on that ledge is absolutely terrifying. The wind is blowing so hard you think it’s going to knock you over. Every cell in your body is screaming at you to go back to safety.

My job was to convince them to inch closer and closer to the opposite direction of safety  — straight towards the edge of a 1000 foot drop. In the photo, it makes all the difference.

Superheroes on Skyscrapers image 3

To get the vertigo-inducing angle we were looking for, we rigged a heavy-duty triple riser steel boom stand with a Nikon D800E equipped with a 14-24mm and controlled the camera wirelessly from the laptop using a nifty little device called the CamRanger.

Read full article at Von Wong's blog “How I Photographed Superheroes On The Edge Of A Skyscraper”

(cover photo credit: snap from Von Wong)

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