It seems as if in photography the line between bravery and stupidity is more than thin. However, when it comes to rooftopping photography, stupidity is perhaps the best word.
On December 30 a 24-year-old amateur photographer fell to death when climbing a 52-story hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Connor Cummings had planned to get to the roof of the Four Seasons in order to take some shots of the skyline. The practice often referred to as rooftopping is a popular hobby amongst social media-savvy photographers especially because their images attract a lot of attention.
Yes, photographs from people like Vitaliy Raskalov are breathtaking and raise the desire to see more. But more often means more spectacular. And that means more risks.
Connor Cummings wasn’t alone when climbing the hotel. He was accompanied by a friend with the same hobby who posted a photo of himself on Instagram before they went Midtown. Now you can find expressions of sympathy in the comments – with encouragements to keep going on with his work.
Even though rooftopping is dangerous (and often illegal!), amateur photography itself has become a dangerous hobby. And in many cases the practice of taking selfies caused tragic deaths. Actually, it seems as if some people shut down their brains when making a self portrait. So it is probably a good idea of the Russian ministry of interior to release a brochure about how to take selfies safely.
Of course, we are in no position to tell people what to do. We need photographers who risk their lives to raise public awareness about wars, conflicts, abuses. And we also need art that inspires us.
But please, snap safely!