Extreme Cameramen: The Most Dangerous Sports Photography in the World

Some photographers take risks to get their shots. Then, there are these photographers.

I've taken risks in my photography many times. I've hung off the edge of buildings, used flamethrowers and got burned, and waded in to a freezing abyss, but nothing I've ever done compares to these photographers. You know when your art has a high mortality rate for both creator and subject, you're treading a path few others would dare.

My initial thought when I read the title of this HBO piece was Jimmy Chin's film, Free Solo. The capturing of a treacherous climb up El Capitan without equipment was about as extreme as I could imagine, but it turns out, he's in good company. In this video you hear the frightening number of deaths of cameramen photographing wingsuit flights which is so high that it's said there is only really one person left doing it.

Would you shoot something with a genuine risk of death? What's the biggest risk you've taken?

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14 Comments

These guys are rockstars. Crazy, but badass.

If you die doing this it is far more respectable & regrettable than being a dumbshit who jumps a barrier and falls off the side of a cliff going for a selfie.

Simon Patterson's picture

I greatly admire and respect what this guy does, but after you're dead it makes no difference whether you won an Oscar or a Darwin.

These guys aren't winning Darwin awards. Darwin awards aren't awarded to people who suffer the consequences of engaging in an extreme or dangerous activity per se but to people who do exceedingly dumb and uninformed things which kills them or renders them sterile.

These guys are professionals who make a sound and informed judgement to take on the risk.

Simon Patterson's picture

Correct. This guy won an Oscar. It's the "dumbshit who jumps a barrier and falls off the side of a cliff going for a selfie" who wins the Darwin Award.

But none of this makes any difference to either of them after they've died...

Nothing means anything to any of us after we've died. That has nothing to do with my point about the merits of risking your life for something like this and risking it for an uninspired selfie.

Rob Mitchell's picture

New underwear needed!
I'll stick to hanging out the tailgate of a car to shoot motorcycles as my limit.

David Butterell's picture

I’ve shot plenty of skydives and wingsuiting from aircraft but wingsuit BASE and proximity flying is something else! Can be beautiful and unique and all credit to those who do it.

I prefer to live a good long life of non death experiences thank you. im going to put my life at risk, the least I can.

I have children and a wife and I want to make sure I stay with them till I die, from getting old.

David Butterell's picture

All depends on your view of risk. Drive to work? You’re risking your life. Take a train? You’re risking your life. Drink, smoke etc. Many of those risks aren’t even in your control. Most skydivers aren’t risk takers, they probably appreciate risk more than anyone! Having said that, you’d not get me to wingsuit BASE.

your whole comment makes no sense. youre going to talk about nonsense like drive to work or use a train to skydiving? do you hear how that sounds?

S-K-Y-D-I-V-I-N-G!!! this is not a danger of driving a car with airbags. there is nothing to save you if you make a mistake.

sheesh. how you downplay skydiving as not risk takers. you crazy.

I started out in video as a vidiot.
That is a kayaker, paddling solo down Class IV and V rivers to capture video of rafters on their way down the New and Gauley Rivers.
The Gauley has one of the highest mortality rates for participants in rafts and kayaks of all the rivers in the world.
Not really much money, but the best job I've ever had.
I'd go back to doing it if we had universal health care.

Patrick BALEYDIER's picture

Almost deadliest as being the Spinal Tap drummer.

Rod Kestel's picture

An exciting way to spend your life (pun).

Though sooner or later you'll end up as an oily smear on the rocks.

Gaetan Osman's picture

I once tried to take a picture while drinking coffee and spilled the whole thing on me, what these guys do are in a league of their own. So much respect.

The true definition of "love for your craft" to the point that it could literally cost you your life