Ordinary People Shot As SuperHeros On The Ledge Of A San Francisco Skyscraper

Feb 24, 2015

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Ordinary People Shot As SuperHeros On The Ledge Of A San Francisco Skyscraper

Feb 24, 2015

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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Everyone wants to be a superhero. It is not easy to become one, but given the right opportunity, talent and time, it is possible to make it for a day. Photographer Benjamin Von Wong took an ordinary team of workers from Smugmug and granted them a day of superheroness.

While a superhero shoot is always hard to pull off while maintaining a “real” look, this shoot had another high stakes factor. Ben chose to actually shoot the team on the ledge of a San Francisco skyscraper. Of course this could have been accomplished with photoshop, but Ben wanted to do it for real:

I wanted to capture the fearlessness of superheroes – without a green screen or cheap special effects. The simplest way to make that happen was to place them on the edge of certain death

Here is the pickle though, Similarly to his super athletes shoot, Ben chose “a group of everyday people— SmugMug employees — for this photo shoot. These weren’t professional stuntmen. Just dads, engineers and customer service people“. They would have to literally be standing on a roof ledge, so aside the technical challenge of setting up on the edge of a rooftop, a lot of effort went into human interaction.

Clarification: as the video indicators, each ‘model’ was secured with a harness and spotters so no ‘real’ danger was ever present. Of course, the adrenalin rush was still there.

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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. Seeing them challenge themselves and finding courage where they thought there was none was absolutely inspiring

Actually, to get that hero-on-roof-top-down angle that would show both the height and the superheroes, Ben was not even at the camera. It was mounted on a high sandbagged poll and hooked up with a camranger and Ben could be close to the team and focus on talking with them. (That crazy angle comes from a full frame D800e and a 14mm lens mounted on a triple riser steel boom stand).

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Here is the video that SmugMug made as part of their Artist in Residence program.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qlG9gBDwJw

And here are the rest of the photos from that shoot

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[How I Photographed Superheroes On The Edge Of A Skyscraper | Benjamin Von Wong]

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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10 responses to “Ordinary People Shot As SuperHeros On The Ledge Of A San Francisco Skyscraper”

  1. HyperJ Avatar
    HyperJ

    Neat, but I’m not sure what the point is if you are going to photoshop the result so much that the final images no longer look like photographs.

  2. Doug Birling Avatar
    Doug Birling

    cool idea since no one fell, but if they did it would have been a very different story.

  3. mike Avatar
    mike

    So it was a completely dangerous and useless stunt, since an average deviantart artist could have came up with the same results.

  4. Guest Avatar
    Guest

    shoot it on a green carpet, would be easier and the result would be the same, but then it wouldn’t get any press… dumb stunt…

    1. Cameorn Avatar
      Cameorn

      it isn’t all about the end product, but the experience of taking the photo and what you learn from it, don’t think it would be quite the same sitting in a studio with a green screen

  5. Andrew Ridgway Avatar
    Andrew Ridgway

    surely this should be posted in an illustration group….

  6. 35n50mm Avatar
    35n50mm

    Ignore the haters.

  7. David T Avatar
    David T

    What this write up omits to mention is that each model wore safety equipment. How can anyone say that these photos are anything but outstanding? Kudos to von Wong for even coming up with the idea.

  8. Dieter Petereit Avatar
    Dieter Petereit

    Astonishingly noone fell over

  9. 5eyez Avatar
    5eyez

    Benjamin in now starring the Huawei P8 commercial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4w6d08XYPE