Rooftopping: Urban Photography Shoots Up to New Heights

Tom Ryaboi takes a top-down approach to understanding the urban experience, literally, looking down on his city of Toronto, Canada, from dozens of stories above. Fortunately for those who wish to come along for the ride: he takes pictures, too.

When asked by Dornob, he points out that “there is no better place to observe how this grid works than from a high place in the core of the city.” Despite being on dozens of rooftops downtown, each feels “like the first time” as time seems to slow on the streets below.

Tom views it as an urban exploration movement “notĀ unlike what was happening in France and Britain in the 90′s with parkour” and free running, but special and site-specific: “there is a group of very dedicated individuals who will not rest until they are able to stand on every roof in the city and call it theirs, even if its just for a minute or two.”

Perhaps it is part of an innate human urge: the “desire to be in high places and see far off into the horizon …. We have always wanted to fly, thrived to climb the tallest mountains, and the reason condominiums are more expensive on higher floors. Although it can be argued that a fear of heights is a rational one, overcoming such fears allows us to feel like we are on top of the world”

So far, so good – everyone he has introduced to the activity has more than enjoyed it … words like “blown away” and “addicted” suit the subject. And who does it? Surprisingly or not, the most common professions of rooftoppers have been doctors, bankers, environmentalists and journalists.

For him, “photography is a life passion, and so is rooftopping, its been natural for me to combine the two. I really love the medium of photography because it allows me to bring the stories and experience of rooftopping to everyone (who wants to see it).”

But this is just a small sampling – visit Blursurfing for more of Tom’s amazing shots, both at street level and from the sky-high rooftops around Toronto.

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