A rooftop isn’t an unusual place to find a superhero. They go to rooftops to get a better vantage point, to leap from building to building, to survey their domain, and to brood. But in real life, people dressed like superheroes don’t typically go near the ledges of 45+ story buildings with a 1,000 foot drop. Unless they’re working with photographer Benjamin Von Wong. Yes, Harley Quinn is actually on top of a real building. My heart is racing on her behalf.
Before we dive into the whys and hows, know that Von Wong and SmugMug did take safety precautions. Though the photos aren’t fake constructions, the safety harnesses and equipment have been removed from the final images.
Why this project? Von Wong explains why he wanted to put superheroes on the edge of a rooftop:
As we get older, we stop dreaming. We stop believing that anything is possible because we’ve seen too much of what isn’t. And that is why I wanted to photograph ordinary people as superheroes — so that they could see themselves as they had once dreamed.
I wanted to capture the fearlessness of superheroes – without a green screen or cheap special effects.
He worked with a group of everyday people (not stuntmen) on the project. The superheroes in the photos are employees of SmugMug who work in customer service. That’s a challenging job, but SmugMug has an excellent team they call Support Heroes. Those Support Heroes donned costumes and makeup for this series and showed real bravery by standing, sitting, and leaning over the edge of a building. Watch how the shoot came together (but maybe not if you are super afraid of heights):
As you can see in the video, Von Wong achieved the dramatic results with a camera rigged to hang over the edge and look down. Just look:
If you had the opportunity to be one of the superheroes in these pictures, would you do it? Let us know in the comments.
IMAGES: Benjamin Von Wong