Meet Marat Dupri, skywalker. No, the Russian teen is not a fanboy of the "Star Wars" series — the title indicates something much more literal than that. Dupri is part of a growing fad in Russia that involves climbing to great heights, perching over a ledge, and snapping a vertigo-inducing photograph.
The fad, dubbed "skywalking," is not an activity for the weak at heart, or those with poor balance. In fact, acrophobes may want to avoid looking at the photographs entirely. They are dizzying to say the least. If you can stomach it, you can view a number of Dupri's photos at the Caters News Agency here.
Just 19 years old, Dupri has been testing his own fears ever since he purchased a Canon camera 18 months ago. Together with a group of daredevil friends, the teen has already more than earned his stripes as a premiere skywalker. Many of Dupri's photos are also accompanied by a hair-raising adventure story, as skywalkers must routinely sneak past guards and security cameras to gain access to many of Moscow's tallest structures.
"I've taken a lot of the photos by sneaking past guards and getting access to structures illegally," Dupri told the Daily Mail. "But I think the risks are worth it to take such amazing pictures."
Dupri may even have exposed himself to high levels of radiation, once climbing to the top of a radio tower. He says he experienced a headache for several days afterwards — and it wasn't from the vertigo.
Most people would probably be too terrified to crawl out on a ledge without a safety harness, but Dupri says the experience offers him a sense of serenity.
"When I am on the roof I have a feeling that the whole world is by my feet," he said. "All my problems and trouble are left somewhere down. The height exhilarates me. I am enjoying with my hometown views. It gives me energy and fills me with enthusiasm to make new and great shots."
Watch the video below to get an idea of what it's like when Dupri and his friends are preparing for a photo shoot:
Of course, Dupri and his friends aren't the only ones taking these risks in the name of photography. It's quickly becoming a movement. For instance, check out some of the photos taken by this real-life Spiderman, "Mad" Max Polatov, also provided by the Caters News Agency. You might recognize many of the same views around Moscow.
Other photos, provided by The Sun, showcase skywalkers poised in locations that seem inconceivable to get to, perched atop statues and climbing up rusted old ladders that seem to hover in the air.
The photos are certainly incredible, but at the same time it only takes one slip for the fad to turn into a terrible tragedy. Most kids would be ill-advised to try this at home.
Also on MNN: What is the cinnamon challenge, and can it kill you?