Showcase: Sorry, Mom!
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“‘You mind strapping on a bunch of flares, lighting them up, skiing down the run in the dark, and finally throwing a sick trick on a big jump where you can’t spot the landing?’”
—Greg Maino, photographer of #10, Stupid Human Tricks.
Danger. Sometimes you taunt it towards you, whether through daredevil tricks, brave resolutions, or carelessness. And sometimes you get ambushed by it. In either case, the body is flooded with chemicals and hormones rarely experienced. You never know how you’re going to react to a threatening situation until you’re in one. Some crave the adrenaline rush, some despise it, but we’re all transformed by it. Who would you become in the following situations?
April 20, 2010
Introduction by Laura Brunow Miner
Guest design by Jason Santa Maria
I’m not sure any of us really understood the danger we were in as our transatlantic voyage brought us through massive swells and heavy winds. Armed with my foul weather gear, a harness, and a plastic bag over my camera, I tried to capture the mountains of water chasing our ship. Klaas, our composed captain, made it very clear that if we were to fall overboard, our fate would be sealed somewhere between Canada and Ireland. The water was too treacherous and the winds too strong to turn the 165-foot tall ship around in time. None of us could comprehend — we were all too blinded by excitement to realize what we were sailing through. I took an opportunity, as the rain quelled, to bring my camera on deck for a quick shot, but no photo or story can really do the scene justice. The crew and trainees of the Bark Europa are the only ones who really know what we saw.
Photographer: Michael Guenther
I work for an advertising agency in downtown Manhattan. I’m a photography hobbyist always looking for something unique.
Dreams of Flying ∞
My body shook violently as my hands gripped the lines and Spanish floated into my ears. I suddenly lifted off from Earth, flying high above the palms, my body dropping five, ten, fifteen feet when the wind caught the sail. Do birds feel this way? I laughed as my damp, salty hair whipped into my face, the sand hit between my toes, and the hot sun beat on my tanned skin. And I felt that even if my body were to crash into the ocean or break into a million pieces on the rocks, it would be OK. Will I ever feel that again?
Photographer: Whitney Johnson
I was born on a Friday morning in 1983. I grew up on a farm in the shadows of the Oregon Coast range, but now live, work, and play in south east Portland.
Leap of Faith ∞
The 35-foot jump into the Atlantic had looked a whole lot easier the day before when I didn’t have my swimsuit. The fact that I had to get a running start to avoid the rocky base of the cliff made me nervous. It took Frank, my local guide to Biarritz, France, several jumps to convince me to take the plunge — but finally, we went together.
Photographer: Andrew Clark
Video professional in SF.
Kambala Confrontation ∞
The Kambala race is a lively sporting event held in the rural state of Karnataka, India, where primed buffaloes are pitted against each other in wet paddy fields. In order to get this shot I plopped down, right in the path of the madly rushing animals, and had to perfectly time my last-second jump to safety.
Photographer: Avalok Sastri
Creative cat of all trades - painter, writer, designer, presenter, photographer, adventure enthusiast, etc.
Dear @Pictory: “Once I slipped while climbing a wet rock at 2000 meters (it was raining). And another time I was face to face with a bear during a hike.” —@Mar_Andra
While travelling through Morocco, I came across a road-side stall in a remote village near Ouarzazate where some locals were on hand for a photo op. This man and his placid snake seemed like they would make good photo subjects, so I paid a few dirhams and framed my shot. Fractions of a second after the shutter release, the snake lunged for the lens. Probably not life threatening, but heart-quickening none the less!
Photographer: Evan Skuthorpe
Professional web designer and amateur photographer.
Baby Balboas ∞
During a stroll through the heart of the old town in Havana, Cuba, I stumbled upon a local boxing gym with a juniors competition in full swing. This outdoor arena was packed with cheering fans despite torrential rain. What struck me most about the event was the incredible focus and skill the boys (some of whom seemed as young as ten) showed while facing the danger of the ring.
Photographer: James Kerr
I’m an amateur photographer with a thirst for travel and improving my photographic skills.
Tunnel Vision ∞
Exploring tunnels alone is always a bit precarious. My heart sank as I felt the vibration and rumble of tracks only moments after the self-timer released and this photo was taken.
Photographer: Martin Reisch
A dreamer, photographer, and filmmaker living and working in Montreal, Canada.
Stupid Human Tricks ∞
“You mind strapping on a bunch of flares, lighting them up, skiing down the run in the dark, and finally throwing a sick trick on a big jump where you can’t spot the landing?”
“Sure… why not.”
At the end of the ski season, with the resort closed and most of the snow gone, a group of friends and I decided to make the most of the last remaining jump. I was photographing the process and having a hard time capturing the complexity of some of the tricks being thrown down, so I suggested some light painting to see if we could trace the path of the skier through the air. Well, first we tried sparklers: no good. Next, more sparklers: still no good. Then someone suggested road flares.
Fortunately, no skis or humans were injured during the shooting of this image — well, except for those two unrelated pairs of skis we broke.
Photographer: Greg Maino
I’m an outdoor industry professional and aspiring photographer in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I prefer to be outside in a kayak, on my bike, under a backpack, or on my snowboard or skis, and I always try to have my camera with me.
An abandoned prison yard is not a place where you want to fall down. Of course, I did fall down, about five minutes in. My friend has sturdier ankles than I do.
Photographer: Rachel Greene
I’m a teacher of graphic design and animation in New York City. I enjoy photography and urban exploration —luckily one hobby compliments the other.
Rickshaw Runaround ∞
As part of the annual Rickshaw Run, two friends and I drove 2400 miles from Pokhara, Nepal to Cochin, India in a three-wheeled “autorickshaw” alongside almost 70 other teams. Pollution, poverty, mountain roads, winter weather, rickshaw accidents, river crossings in fishing boats, and post-apocalyptic road conditions are but a taste of what we experienced — but nothing compared to our border crossing from Nepal to India.
Had all gone as planned at the airport a few days earlier, my single-entry visa would have worked fine. But an extra stamp meant that unlike my team members and the rest of the group, I was going to be held back from entering India. This is where things get blurry. In my fear of missing the trip I’d spent months organizing, I made an illogical and emotionally-charged decision to try to drive our golf cart-like vehicle (top speed 40 mph) through a line of Indian border guards into the country. They reacted by jumping on the cart, punching me, and pulling me out of the car. I could have been arrested or even shot for my impulsive decision, but instead, after numerous apologies, I was sent back into Nepal to resolve my paperwork. It took me four days, a seven hour taxi ride, several visits with officials, a bribe, and an airline flight to reconvene with my friends, but I finally made it.
Photographer: Rommy Ghaly
I’m an American who works in the video game industry and lives in Stockholm, Sweden.
Dear @Pictory: “Waiting in a car in Brazil while my host negotiated the purchase of whale bones from a “retired” drug lord for an art project.” —@kateregan
Snout to Tail ∞
When traveling through rural China, every meal tends to be an adventure. Despite misunderstanding the waitress, I managed to forgo the pig snout shown here in favor of a cow stomach soup.
Photographer: Morgan Hopper
I am a San Francisco local, an urban explorer, and a researcher at Stanford.
Teatro alla Scala ∞
December 7th is the day of Saint Ambrose, Milan’s patron saint, and every year, a protest happens at this world famous opera house. Those who work in the performing arts industry demonstrate against personnel cuts and reduced salaries while fur-wearing celebrities and bejeweled socialites walk the red carpet. Riot police are ready to step in, and yes, the police tend to charge and hit.
Photographer: Alessandro Melillo
I’m an architect deeply in love with photography. I live in Piombino, Italy, on Tuscany’s beautiful shore, and I go crazy for aniseed, everything indigo, Vespa riding, parkour, and puzzle solving, not necessarily in this order.
A Houston firefighter looks on helplessly as smoke billows out from a warehouse fire. I’ve read that approximately 100 firefighters are killed while on duty each year in the US.
Photographer: Cody Austin
Cody lives in Houston and takes his camera with him everywhere. He has been published in magazines such as JPG, Light Leaks, and Executive Travel.
Melted Metal ∞
We walked around the massive wreckage of tanks like tourists, shocked by the destruction caused by our weapons even though we knew how powerful they were. What we didn’t know is how many live land mines there were in this area. This is the most danger I have ever been in — I’m very thankful that those days of my life are over.
Photographer: Ed Devereaux
I now work in advertising in Louisville, Kentucky after spending 20 years as a soldier. I miss the people but not the job.
Barrel Fever ∞
A buddy and I were sitting on the back porch, enjoying a couple beers and the latest Wilco album. Nothing too special. We watched as my neighbor parked behind her house and got out of her car. Before she’d gone five feet, a young guy — couldn’t have been older than 18 — and his friend walked in from the alley behind her. He grabbed at her bag, and that’s when Phil and I saw the gun. A shiny, stainless revolver with a long barrel. Phil dove for the kitchen, and I stood up and yelled for them to leave her alone. What happened next is lost in a flash of light. I got up from where I fell, and we looked for the bullet. It wasn’t until I noticed my blood that I realized it had gotten me. Never felt it. It’s possible that I saved my neighbor’s life, but what definitely saved mine was the two-by-four the bullet went through before hitting me. The million dollar shot, the doctors called it.
Photographer: Paul Karns
I am a graphic designer and writer living in Richmond, Virginia.
Fridays in Bil’in ∞
Every Friday in the Palestinian village of Bil’in, activists demonstrate against the construction of Israel’s “security/separation” wall. Often, these demonstrations turn violent. The Israeli army fires tear gas, rubber bullets, and occasionally live rounds while Palestinian demonstrators respond with rocks and slingshots.
Photographer: Shawn Duffy
Shawn Duffy is a freelance photographer based in the Washington, DC Metro area. Shawn’s primary focus is the Middle East, having actively studied the region for most of his life. However, he is pursuing projects and opportunities all over the world.
Lion Moon ∞
During my time in Tanzania, I have had many encounters with the king of beasts, but the most harrowing by far was with the lion pictured here. Recognizable by his mohawk mane, this photo was taken a few days after my nocturnal encounter with this prowling beast.
At 4 a.m. I was awoken by the unmistakable and haunting sound of a male lion’s call in the still of the night. As I lay there motionless, I noticed that the canvas door to our tent had been left wide open to let the breeze in. As the breeze died, and the silence grew, I knew the lion was very close. Aside from the blood pumping in my ears, the only sound I could hear was his heavy breathing and low grunts on the side of my tent. I had the urge to run out of the tent quickly, untie the flaps, close the canvas door, and run back in to safety. But as my muscles and nerves twitched in anticipation, he strode silently out of the shadows. Huge and lurking, he stepped fully into the moonlight and paused, his tail flicking in the silence. I was in disbelief at his gargantuan size. My bed creaked as I leaned on my elbow, and the lion turned around sharply. He was staring at me through the open door of the tent, not 10 yards away. I froze — overtaken by this frightening and beautiful scene — and awaited my fate. But the lion turned around and walked towards the river, pausing briefly to scratch his face on the reed fence, and then jumped in and swam across to the other bank. As he continued to prowl, his distant calls could be heard until early in the morning, lingering on to remind me of the experience.
Photographer: Tyler Sharp
Tyler Sharp is a photographer, writer, and videographer who lives in Dallas. He is currently traveling on assignment in Africa.
Surviving Mount Kilimanjaro ∞
To celebrate my college graduation and my dad’s 50th birthday, we set out on a father-daughter bonding trip to Tanzania to climb the storied Mount Kilimanjaro. I was feeling pretty good next to my mountain-climbing father until we hit about 16,000 feet on the final day of our trek. It was pitch-black, my lungs burned for air, and I struggled with bouts of altitude sickness along the freezing, snow-covered hike straight up. Despite slowing the pace, we managed to make it to the top (19,330 feet!) just as the sun was rising. We were practically alone as this other world above the clouds lit up. I have never felt so deliriously alive in my life.
Photographer: Brooke Robertson
Brooke is from San Francisco.
The World’s Most Dangerous Road ∞
Upon arriving in La Paz, Bolivia a few years back, I overheard tales of what the locals call “The Death Road.” I learned that it ran 38 miles from La Paz to a small town on the edge of the Amazon jungle called Coroico, and drops an estimated 3000 feet from the top of the pass to the city. It is estimated that The Death Road has caused the death of a few hundred people each year since it was opened in 1995. Why? Treacherous 90 degree corners, cliffs that drop a mile with no guardrails, hurried drivers, and hazardous single lane traffic. After some lively debate with my traveling companion, it was decided that we would bike the route. Whizzing down the road at close to 40 mph, taking corners 1.5 feet from the edge, playing carefully with that fine line between death and life, biking through small waterfalls and dodging oncoming traffic: all of this made for a once in a lifetime experience.
Photographer: Stuart Bowness
I live in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Give me a surf board and a laptop and I’ll be happy the rest of my life.
Spin, spin, spin! ∞
I love speed, particularly in open wheel cars. So when I was offered the opportunity to be a local instructor for a driving school I’d attended, I was thrilled. Even within the first lap I could feel the sheer speed difference between this and the student cars I’d previously driven, and by turn three and four I had a huge smile on my face and couldn’t push the accelerator down enough. Sadly, before I could finish the first half of the front straight, the right rear suspension broke. This turned the car into a tripod at around 200 mph. The spin felt like it lasted for 20 minutes, but in reality it was only 20 seconds. My field of view bounced back and forth between wall and grass and wall and grass again. Consciously, I knew the infield on my left would be a much softer way to shed the speed than the wall on my right. Subconsciously, my hands found a way to guide me to safety. Once the car finally came to a stop in the middle of the infield, the blur went away and sound suddenly rushed into my headset. My ears were filled with the nervous voices of the pit crew trying to find out if I was alright. My response was, “Yes, I didn’t hit the wall. I’m fine.” But let’s just say they didn’t offer me any more chances to drive instructor cars after my 200 mph pirouettes.
Photographer: Megan Brunow
I am a photographer moonlighting as a SharePoint Manager for a family owned janitorial business in Dallas.
Robot is On ∞
At my workplace, the Geek Group, one of our biggest projects is a large industrial robot named Jeff. Jeff lives in the safety of a cage, but he’s so intriguing that people often creep up to the edge of the cage or walk in if the door is open. Jeff is not a toy and can cause injury. He will continue running his program if you walk in and can rip himself off of his base plate and the custom flooring. We’ve since made a better sign.
Photographer: Lis Bokt
Lis is a photographer and scientist in Michigan.
We have a lot of space at home, so when guests need a place to crash, there’s always an extra air mattress. Two of these were left out one day when we were cleaning, so we decided to conduct a long overdue experiment. Afraid they would pop, we added a third, real mattress for safety before commencing the top rope body slam in honor of the great Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka.
Photographer: Ryan Schude
Freelance photographer living and working out of the Forge Studio in Los Angeles, California.