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'This Is a Dumb Way to Die': Urban Explorer Speaks of Subculture’s Fatal Risks

'This Is a Dumb Way to Die': Urban Explorer Speaks of Subculture’s Fatal Risks

The artist and urban explorer known as Slippn fell six stories and broke her back for her art. Despite the incredible images urban explorers can often get, she is now warning others of the dangers.

Urban exploring is a relatively recent phenomenon, at least digitally and on social media platforms. It involves exploring abandoned or off-limit sites, including building sites, and documenting the adventures, often at night. When things go according to plan, some of the images can be incredible, such as the silhouetted individual standing on a crane high above a gorgeous nightlight cityscape. But when things go wrong, they can go very wrong, and they did for Slippn, falling six stories from a building and breaking her back. Now, she's warning others of the perils.

I recently posted an article here on Fstoppers about a former pro surfer who almost lost his foot following a fall while trying to get a photo. That was his last post on Instagram, so I don't know how things have developed since then. Unfortunately, falls and deaths like these are becoming all too common, simply for the sake of a photo, or a few likes from strangers on social media. As I said last time, please let these be timely reminders that no photo is ever worth risking your life for.

Iain Stanley's picture

Iain Stanley is an Associate Professor teaching photography and composition in Japan. Fstoppers is where he writes about photography, but he's also a 5x Top Writer on Medium, where he writes about his expat (mis)adventures in Japan and other things not related to photography. To view his writing, click the link above.

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Choices have consequences. Some good, some bad.

Some pics are worth your life. Besides, as long as they are aware of the risks that is their choice.

The problem is this; there's others left behind. I agree that it's the shooter's choice, but there are consequences that are beyond this poor decision. Imagine if the shooter hadn't reached room temperature but became a quadriplegic. Now that 'shot of a lifetime' becomes a burden for others.

Sincerely wondering what Darwin would have to say on this...

Probably some formulaic cliche that gets repeated for hundreds of years afterwards…. Oh wait.

Excellent! Darwin post in just three comments :)
Darwin might say that the risk takers like these folk or the third deer that crosses the country road in front of a truck, or that squirrel that gets almost across the street then darts back the other way but gets run over are a way of teaching the humans, deer and critters to be careful and not take too many chances.

I think he'd be tired of everyone making a variation of the same tired joke everytime someone talks about a photographer dying while taking photos.

Darwin would say "that's natural selection in action". These people are being naturally selected not to survive so they can't pass on their "stupid" gene to the detriment of the gene pool.

Probably not much. He's dead.

#1 Don't go where you have no business going. Sc*w your art. You are trespassing and breaking the law.
#2 If you must be jerk and trespass, remember that you are likely not a professional climber with safety gear. Manager your risks my minimizing them. If you need that shot from up high, get a drone. You may still be breaking the law (depending on where you fly it), but you won't break your neck.

The full article isn't so much about urban exploration as it is about teenagers behaving like jackasses.

I often walk past a canal near a regular spot I go to take pictures and keep thinking I will fall in one day and destroy my camera if I need to navigate around people also walking along it. That’s all the ‘danger’ I need in my life, let alone climbing up dangerous buildings on building sites or taking a selfie near a cliff edge.