From scaling cranes to dangling over the edges of skyscrapers, some photographers will go to dizzying heights to get the perfect shot.
Most commonly referred to as ‘rooftoppers’, these daredevil photographers climb to the top of skyscrapers and dangerously high structures to snap pictures of the city below.
It’s a dangerous trend among millennial photographers, and one that has caused a number of deaths around the world. A 26-year-old plummeted to his death from a 62-storey building in China in 2017, a 24-year-old who fell off the roof of the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan in 2015, and a photographer died after he fell into a Chicago building’s smokestack back in 2012.
Despite the obvious dangers and risks associated with going on top of any high structure without authorization, photographers still can’t seem to get enough of it.
Including a photographer from Toronto who recently snuck onto the top of a CIBC Square construction site earlier this month and filmed the entire process.
For those unfamiliar with CIBC Square, it’s a massive two-tower commercial development currently being built by EllisDon in downtown Toronto. When completed, the buildings will rise 49 and 50 storeys, respectively.
In the 11-minute video, that was shot on both a GoPro and a camera, Anish Kalsi can be seen riding an elevator filled with construction workers before climbing staircases to reach the scaffolding on the top of one of the towers.
“This is incredible,” said Kalsi in the video. “I told you what I was gonna do, and I did it.”
Kalsi can then be seen walking around the top of the tower while taking photos, without any of the workers saying anything.
“I’m pretty shocked too honestly how I just walked in,” said Kalsi in the video. “Security didn’t say anything. As a matter of fact, I didn’t see any security at all so I’m shocked.”
And while the vertigo-inducing shots are pretty incredible, are they really worth risking your safety to capture?
Luckily, no rooftoppers in Canada have been injured or killed at this time, but that doesn’t mean the potential risks should be ignored. Toronto Police Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu says that while taking photographs and climbing structures isn’t illegal, the way photographers are accessing the buildings is.
“Major concerns are the construction sites are made unsafe, and create a threat to construction workers, and the public. Settings are moved and changed on the construction site and the safety of everyone on the site can be in danger,” said Sidhu.
“The photographs are beautiful, but they cost time, money, and may take someone’s life. There are no safety precautions, dealing with heavy equipment, winds, and a very unsafe structure.”
Toronto Storeys reached out to EllisDon for a comment but had not heard back at the time of publication.