Ben Von Wong Photographs Extreme Sports on the Walls of Jerusalem

Benjamin Von Wong, along with several other photographers (including Fstoppers' own Mike Kelley) was recently sponsored by a non-profit called Kinetis and Broncolor's GenNEXT program to travel to Israel to photograph and explore. While the group was there they came up with some really awesome shoots including this recently released series by Benjamin Von Wong of athletes doing ridiculous tricks in historic Jerusalem.

Benjamin brought with him his trusty Nikon equipment, including his D800E, 24-70, 70-200, 16mm, and his newly purchased Broncolor equipment. Below are some of the images from Ben and his crew.

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Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_Ben_Von_Wong_Extreme_Sports_15 Image courtesy of Noa Magger via Vibe Israel

Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_Ben_Von_Wong_Extreme_Sports_16 Image courtesy of Noa Magger via Vibe Israel

oppers_Ben_Von_Wong_Extreme_Sports_2 Image courtesy of Shai Ben-Naphtali via Benjamin Von Wong

oppers_Ben_Von_Wong_Extreme_Sports_13 Image courtesy of Liron Samuels via Benjamin Von Wong

oppers_Ben_Von_Wong_Extreme_Sports_8 Image courtesy of Shai Ben-Naphtali via Benjamin Von Wong

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Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_Ben_Von_Wong_Extreme_Sports_17 Image courtesy of Noa Magger via Vibe Israel

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For more details about his shoot be sure to check out Benjamin's original postBroncolor GenNEXT, and Vibe Israel.

[Via Von Wong]

All images used with permission.

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40 Comments

Looks like a hell of a lot of fun!

Brian Zed's picture

Mr. Wong is always entertaining. Great locations! I love the Para Lightformer and the Lights! (But i can´t afford it…..)

Michael Osei's picture

You can rent them for pretty cheap ($ 80-120) for the para and same amount for the Move. At least in Europe.

Brian Zed's picture

You´re right :)

As an action sports professional photographer, this is, at best a joke. We would consider the photos fake since they are just flailing off rocks and not landing the tricks.

Jared Monkman's picture

why does it matter if they land?

chris pilling's picture

Its kind of a respect for the sport and what really happened. Personally this past winter we spent two days shooting a skier on a very challenging rail, I got pleanty of fantastic shots but couldn't use them (morally) unless he landed the rail. He eventually nailed it and I could use the photos.

Jared Monkman's picture

well I guess it depends on the story you are trying to tell. You sound like you're in the business of sports photography, so I can see your point, but Von Wong is telling a different story. It's about that peak moment

these dont really tell a story.....I cant look at these photos and tell how big the rail/drop is or where hes landing.........a good action sports photo shows the whole story. where they took off and where they landed.

Well if they don't land your not really photographing extreme sports. Your photographing people pretending to do extreme sports. The whole point of photographing something challenging like an "extreme sport" is to show off the skill and excitement of actually doing the action.

Noam Galai's picture

As long as it's not news coverage, who cares if he landed or not? he did it as a creative project... as long as the photos look good - who cares what happened before/after.
If I shoot a basketball player jumping to dunk, I dont care if he makes it or not... if the shot looks epic - that what i care about

You obviously are not a rollerblader or bmxer. It's about the culture....it's like shooting a dancer doing a pas de chat, but then he lands on his ass. The dancer will never agree to have that image used, even if perfect while in the air. it's a state of mind....and what in the industry we define as "posers".

Jason Ranalli's picture

Look, I'm no Von Wong defender as I find a lot of his stuff overly-hyped on these types of sites but in his defense he's coming from an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PLACE than the way some of the folks here are shooting.

If you're shooting a movie and the stunt guy eats it at the end but for that split second it counts the shot looks good guess what....IT'S GOING IN THE MOVIE. It works, sells, and is appealing to look at ...end of story.

It has nothing to do with disrespecting the sport or being posers. Dramatic shots whether in the movies or on stills are MADE UP. It doesn't necessarily have to be real or from a documentary perspective.

chris pilling's picture

I wouldn't call the scenarios the athletes i work with put themselves in "made up". Action sports are entirely real through and through and what happens before and after the shutter matters. Try using that argument against a (insert sport here) magazine. It wont go over well.

Jason Ranalli's picture

Again, shooters such as yourself and Von Wong are shooting for completely different reasons. You're shooting from a photojournalistic standpoint - there's an implied legitimacy that's needed there.

Von Wong is shooting it from an end-product entertainment standpoint only...he's probably not submitting this to any sport magazine so it's not needed that he prove the jumps were landed, etc.

There's room for both types of shooting IMO.

chris pilling's picture

Okay I completely see what you are getting at, but without being part of the action sports world (correct me if I'm wrong and you are a part) you can't easily see why it matters to the athletes and the industry. If it were the case then everyone would be attempting insane tricks and not landing them, it doesn't count for much. Also I am not a photojournalist at all: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrispilling/13882674425/

It's not only the authenticity that's the problem. It's the fact that important elements of the trick and context are missing from the shot. It shows a bad understanding of what is going on and produces photos that don't have any context. The shot of the rollerblader on the rail is a perfect example. You can't tell where he came from or what he is doing. Good action sports photos show tell a story of what is going on and do it in a dramatic and eye catching way. Bonus points if you can get a great composition and lighting to help direct the viewer to the important elements and highlight the action. This work fails at all of those things. This whole shoot seems to be more about BVW than the action.

He even makes a point about himself leaning over the edge of the wall when it actually produced a terrible shot with a busy background. The tiny view of the big drop is about the last thing my eye goes to when viewing the image. Something far better could have been achieved without the attention seeking behaviour and unnecessary risk.

If there wasn't BTS footage they would never know if they landed them or didn't.

and… talking about "Posers" XD

With basketball atleast you know how high the ring and how the field will be.
Creative project or not he should've done some research or ask the riders/skaters how it should be and which angle it looks good from.
About the makes it or not part, it might not matter to most but to see how and where he lands tells a story which is pretty important in this kind of photography

Well it does matter if he landed it or not! Its like taking your skateboard and standing on a rail and not really doing the trick at all. It's faked it's a phony! With action sports your worth is measured on how gnarly or stylish or both you are. A Basket ball player will not be judged by his community or fans based on a photo of him jumping to dunk. On the other hand a BMX rider or skateboarder will and is judged on their photos. It's how you know how good they are and what they can do. "Oh man did you see blah blah do that handrail or did you see blah blah barspin that 10 set". Now if the said photos was faked it would hurt the reputation of the rider/skater and hurt the integrity of the sport. So in action sports shit has to be landed or its not posted.

I agree with Kosman this is a joke as far as action sports go. First all the photos do injustice to the riders. The best photo is the Bts of the rollerblader by Shai Ben-Naphtali. The kid is grinding on a almost chest high rail with a 8 ft drop on the other side. The kid is risking his health for a photo that looks like he could be only an inch of the ground. Same goes for the second photo with the other roller blader. He is jumping some 10ft gap and doing a grab to fake(backwards) and it looks like he is jumping in the air he could be a few inches of the ground. Why even have him jumping down the set up he was risking getting hurt to not show it. The photo of the guy on the bike who's jumping the rocks that was shot with a fish does nothing for the rider. Once again he is going for broke and it looks like he pulled his front wheel up and is on the ground. There is a 100+ death drop for christ sakes and its not been shown at all. Of all the photo this should have been shot long lens and the others fish eye.

Totally agree. The behind the scenes guy had the right idea. In my previous comment I neglected to mention Noa Magger. BVW is kooking it here and could have gained a lot from asking these guys questions and listening to some advice instead of directing the action.

TOTALLY agree. That is why most of the times a fisheye is used in action sports, to show where the action in its entirety (where the rail is, landing spot) and make it dramatic. It's all about showing how extreme the trick is...not the rules of thirds or photoshopping the crap out of them

Ricky Perrone's picture

These are killer. I don't think his goal was simply documenting action sports / tricks. It was a creative project, he was trying to compose incredible and inspiring photographs which he could not have been more successful in achieving. Aside from that point only one of the photos is of a trick that was not landed. To condemn an entire project because of this is unprofessional and immature.

Yeah this was a creative project and but it has shown a lack of knowledge of the sports being photographed. BVW really should have done some research before embarking on a photographic project involving a subject that is completely foreign to him. He's just done so many things in this shoot that are simply bad technique, not thought out or just generally pointless. Cutting out the ground, bad lighting, bad composition, busy backgrounds, horrible post production and even using excessive amounts of gear to a bad effect. Almost everything is wrong with this, not just the fact that it's not a faithful documentation of what is going on.

What's unprofessional and immature is the flashy showmanship and failure to take the time to understand what you are photographing.

Ricky Perrone's picture

Yeah, he's clearly clueless.....this artist needs to learn the techniques, practices and etiquette of the action sports photojournalist before embarking on his next creative project.

He'd also be wise not to include BTS footage of one of his subjects riding an electric scooter off of a wall and falling.

Michael Osei's picture

That's one of the better BTS I've seen. Great pics - he's definitely progressing. And he makes sure that Broncolor keeps sponsoring him ;-) (which is totally fair enough IMO)

Doing these stunts and photographing them is as good as the Talebans blowing up the century old, huge Buddha statue... http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/mar/03/afghanistan.lukeharding

It might look impressive but it breaks my heart to see walls and buildings that are potentially thousands of years old being ravaged and torn up for such a pointless marketing stunt. It's disgusting.

OMG thats my 16 fisheye on his lens omg omg!!!!

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