Vitaliy Raskalov & Vadim Makhorov explore the world in a way that is unfathomable to most: they scale its tallest buildings, bridges, and industrial structures with no safety equipment, and there, up high, they take some spectacular photographs. At their core, their photos capture not only the stunning beauty of the world’s most famous cities from unique angles and viewpoints but also the very moment of scaling the summit, transmitting the accompanying wide range of emotions. There is a sense of elation of achieving a goal, the happiness of pushing beyond personal limits and fears as well as savoring the deadly danger. The euphoric rush is probably just like a drug — every next rooftop also brings about a new daring plan to conquer yet another one. Chances are, they find it hard to live in between the ascents.
Their actions may themselves be considered works of art in the same way as the photographs that they take. Philippe Petit, who in 1974 walked a tightrope between the Twin Towers in New York at a height of 411 meters with no safety equipment also felt more like an artist rather than a tightrope walker. Back in those days, “actionism” was not a word en vogue but his walk over the abyss was exactly what that term means nowadays. A public act of doing something truly beautiful — isn’t that true art? The work of Vadim Makhokrov and Vitaliy Raskalov is in the same vein of what the outstanding Frenchman has achieved; but thanks to their photographs, millions of viewers can witness their triumph and, moreover, get a real personal feeling of their unique experience. To climb above the clouds and cast an eye over the rooftops of Shanghai skyscrapers floating in milky fog, to emerge from the shoulder of Christ the Redeemer and see the immense glimmering Rio through his eyes, to embrace the star on the spire of Moscow State University — in order to achieve all those, one needs to be not only endowed with superpowers but also with super-imagination.
The fearless duo achieved international fame after their adventure in Shanghai in 2014, when at the height of 650 meters they had to wait for 18 very long hours before wind finally scattered the clouds and opened up the view of the city. The next daring stunts were the hacking of the billboard on top of one of Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper and the ascent to the summit of the Shenzhen financial center, the second tallest building in the world. Their daredevil videos get dozens of millions of views, while their extreme photographs, conveying the death-defying delight of successful ascension, are snapped up by prominent international publishers.