When I was 7, I had a chance to get on the roof of a 12 storied building. I will never forget that. It was the first time in my life when I realised how small I actually am in comparison to the whole world. When I was on that roof, I was able to see my kindergarten which was across the block. I could see its roof and the playground. It was a mind-blowing experience, and it proofed that I was not afraid of heights. This child experience, at least I think so, was a triggering moment for the idea I was carrying in my head for quite a while.

The idea was to photograph an athlete from above while he was climbing rope. Sounds simple, but the execution is a different story. Dealing with logistics and place, I have figured out that the easiest way to make this picture was to use the climbing gear. I often ask myself today

Could I do that without my childhood experience of climbing on a roof?

The challenge started even before I have decided to climb to the ceiling. Previously, I thought of renting a scissor lift or a cherry picker. However, I soon gave up on that idea, because of the cost. Then I called a friend of mine, who is a climber. He suggested to take a look at rope access from industrial climbing. Finally, it was the best solution. By using two prusik knots I would ascend and descend on the rope. Easy. Almost. Since my knowledge on this subject was limited, I had to be quite careful. However, all in all, it went great.

One of the essential parts in creating images which require long preparation is working with talented people. They will reduce your stress level multiple times. Whether it is an individual who helps organise the crowd or it can be my wife who, on this particular shoot, was my climbing partner. Doing everything alone is a hard task, especially if you have to climb and your life could be in danger. I think surrounding myself with the right people was a smart decision.

Solving the problem of getting up, was one part, photographing from above, was yet another challenge. By climbing the rope, the athlete would get tired very quickly. Therefore I could only make a couple of frames. Then there were lights which also had to be brought up very high. We used big movable parkour boxes to place the lights on them. Then there was the rope itself, which would rotate each time someone would climb it. Eventually, we could solve all these problems. The most important takeaway from such a complicated shooting is to adopt, be fast and be able to change things on the go.

I’m thankful to a lot of people, who have supported me during this shoot. Without them it would not be possible. A big thanks goes to Nik and Falk, who have helped to make this thing possible.

If you are interested in getting to know more about them and calisthenics you can do it (here.link).

Special thanks goes to Anna, my beautiful wife who was holding my safety rope.