One year ago (though it honestly feels like a lifetime), some fellow urban explorer/photographer friends and I were lucky enough to climb one of Toronto’s most amazing high-rises—one that we had often dreamed of visiting but never thought possible until the opportunity suddenly presented itself. After that serendipitous day, a photo Tom Ryaboi took of me went viral around the world and launched something of a global rooftopping photography movement. The full story is finally revealed on the photo’s anniversary via 500px‘s blog. Do check it out.
Today, I present my own series of photos in a followup and tribute to the famous photo in question, called “I’ll make ya famous”.
The title of this post is, of course, tongue-in-cheek and a play on the original, which was actually taken at the exact same moment that I captured the photos you see here. I never published my perspective on “I’ll make ya famous” because around that time, I fell into one of my worst creative ruts ever. While I still forced myself to shoot constantly, I lost the motivation to edit and the confidence to publish any photos I took (thus the birth of the year-long, Mount Everest-sized backlog I’ve been talking about).
Although I was really excited and proud to watch Tom’s tsunami-like success unfold, the popularity of his photo further cemented my own insecurities because, hey, there was no way my photography could compare, so why try at all? The photos from that day were buried and selectively forgotten, and although I didn’t like to admit it then, “I’ll make ya famous” became a source of mild resentment.
Well, it’s been a year. The move to Denmark happened and all manner of new experiences, new people, new places, and new things to shoot suddenly fell into my lap. I’ve fallen in love with photography again and I once more look at my camera as an extension of my mind’s eye, rather than a monetary burden and a reminder of my own shortfalls. I hardly recognize the person I was this time last year, and even looking at my old Lightroom catalog, I hardly recognize the way I saw through my own eyes. For this particular set of photos, it’s now or never—publish, or forever let them sit on my hard drive and in the back of my mind as “that time I let self-doubt win.” And let’s be real, I couldn’t live with that.
What’s next? On the immediate horizon, a lot that doesn’t involve scaling tall buildings. Will it be half as cool? I guess we’ll have to see.
But damn, do I miss those Toronto roofs!