A rooftop photographer who risks his life taking photos from New York skyscrapers has told Amateur Photographer (AP) why the death of a selfie-taking teenager has not put him off his daredevil work.

Although he is well aware of the risks, Edward – whose story was published by Amateur Photographer last month (above) – says he plans to continue his vertigo-defying work

The 30-year-old photographer was speaking to AP after learning of the death of Andrey Retrovsky, 17, who reportedly fell from a nine-storey building in Vologda, Russia, after apparently trying to take a selfie for sharing on Instagram.

The US photographer – who requests he is simply referred to as ‘Edward’ – explained to AP why the news of Andrey’s death has not deterred him from future assignments.

Edward said last night: ‘A lot of attention has been drawn to this activity in the media lately, and frankly it should be no surprise that a tragedy occurred.

‘However, this dangerous activity in the name of photography goes back a long time.

‘Lewis W Hine was a famous photographer in the early 1900s who was hailed as a genius for some of his work –capturing iron workers sitting atop skyscrapers they were building.

‘While I am aware of the risks involved in this kind of photography, it is important to remember that every extreme sport comes with its own risk.

‘Just a month ago I fractured my pelvis in three places using a motorised skateboard.

‘It can be argued that bicycling, skateboarding, driving and skydiving kill more people than rooftopping does.

‘The point is… mistakes do happen in every extreme sport. And while many may argue that photography is not a sport, I think that once competition becomes the driving factor things change.

‘Personally, I have never hung from a building; I know my limits and would not want to put myself or the people around me in danger.

‘Unfortunately, with social media, people often do extreme things in order to gain likes.

‘As a professional photographer and filmmaker, I enjoyed taking photos from rooftops long before Instagram, and my intention is different… That’s why people admire watching it.

‘I feel really sorry for Andrey and it’s a very unfortunate event, especially that he died so young.

‘I know it is a very risky act and, like with every extreme sport, you have to exercise a lot of caution.

‘My heart really goes out to Andrey and his family.’

A few weeks ago, Edward – who uses the Instagram handle @WantedVisual – explained how he scales New York buildings to capture incredible ‘super-wide look-down shots and landscapes’ using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens.

  • entoman

    Edward is right to draw attention to the dangers risked by people trying to gain “likes” or “followers” for their selfies. There were e.g. idiots laying down on the railway lines on the London Underground a few days ago, and such idiots will at some stage end up dead.

    “Extreme” photography in many senses is no different from the activities of Arctic explorers or underwater photographers. BUT, it’s essential to take safety precautions. not only to protect yourself, but to protect others (think of what would happen to people on the ground, if you fell).

    Also, have consideration for the family and friends who would be left behind in the event that you were killed, and think of the trauma felt by doctors, nurses, ambulance staff, police etc who have to deal with the mess you leave after you fall.