Benjamin Von Wong is at it again, releasing some fantastic content for photographers from his most recent commercial shoot with Nike. As is his habit, Ben comes up with an awesome idea, brings in the people who can make that vision a reality, and then documents the lot so fellow photographers can see how it's done.
Extreme sports, extreme weather, and now, extreme photography – at least in terms of going to extreme lengths to get that perfect shot.
Benjamin Von Wong is that photographer and he took this attitude to the heights of the art – literally.
Moored 30 stories above the Earth one morning in July 2017 in the city of Manila in the Philippines, Benjamin found himself answering a question posed to him by the Nike shoe company: “Dear Ben, what would you do if you could walk on air?”
Now he knew just exactly what.
The intrepid photographer found himself living up to his daring answer, “I want to showcase everyday people defying gravity 1000 feet up in the air,” but, as could be expected, found the setup for the photo shoot daunting, to say the least.
“There was no rulebook on ‘how to hang people from skyscrapers' or ‘what equipment to use' and suddenly I found myself locked in a battle between what I wanted to create in my mind… and what was actually doable,” Ben recounts on his blog.
Citing the martial arts spectacular, noted for its then-amazing visuals and stunning acrobatic effects, Benjamin Von Wong noted that, while walking on air looks really cool “on paper,” physical realization of the shoot was going to require meticulous planning and vision.
“I had sold a grand vision – and everyone had bought into it. Even our models, social entrepreneurs, and community leaders had agreed to come in for the experience of a lifetime. All around me, dozens of people had woken up as early as 4 AM to start setting up scaffolding, wires, and winches all so that I could have a chance at capturing a gravity-defying moment,” Benjamin writes on his blog.
Benjamin even made it harder for himself when he eschewed the use of traditional stunt models in favor of social entrepreneurs or people who are really making a difference in the world around them.
As seen in the captured photos, Benjamin encouraged the models to project images of dynamic action, having them propel themselves from the sides of buildings in a series of amazing shots that really translate the raw daring and artistry of the shoot.
Some photographers have questioned Benjamin about why he did not edit out the ropes and cables in the finished product. In a philosophical response, Benjamin stated “The story is the most important part… and editing the wires out, take away from the story. By showcasing everyday people doing extraordinary things, I hope that viewers will feel empowered to challenge themselves, support others and to pursue amazing life experiences of their own.”
You can read Benjamin Von Wong’s blog about the shoot here: https://blog.vonwong.com/nikevapormax/.
You can check out Benjamin Von Wong’s other work, including a Mad Max-themed shoot by clicking here.