In September 2013, three men leapt off the Freedom Tower, capturing their spine-tingling stunt using helmet-cameras and enough adrenaline to satisfy any fan of the X Games. The base jumpers were detained by police shortly after, but footage of the stunt has garnered upwards of three million views on YouTube since its upload in March.
In the age of smartphones, personal cameras, and even drone videography, being a daredevil has never been so easy to document— nor, especiallly with the right Insta filter, has the footage ever looked so immersively personal. In the past week alone, news of a wingsuit pilot surging between a 39-foot gap between two buildings in Chile like a big sugar glider, was heard around the world, and a guy took the selfie to end all selfies on top of the statue of Christ The Redeemer in Brazil. This might even one-up the drone selfie, aka "Dronies."
Though the sheer daring of these stunts is captivating on its own, maybe there's something bigger that explains these videos' viral factors— in a "One small step for man..." kind of way. The brazen adventurer who climbed Christ in Brazil, "It’s not about funny mugshots with scenic backdrops or daredevil stunts. It’s a way to mark the moment and say, I was here."
With this in mind, these unbelievable moments certainly make statement on their own. Below, seven examples of insane stunts recorded either as selfies or through first person POV. Aspiring adrenaline junkies: keep it in the comments section.
Wingsuit Pilot Soars Through Two Massive Buildings
In June 2014, Chilean Sebastian Alvarez shot through two buildings with only a 39-foot gap between them in Reñaca, Chile. The camera angle switches from professional third-person POV angles provided by Barcroft TV, to cameras embedded in Alvarez's helmet. He pretty much looks like a human-sized flying squirrel as he coasts and safely lands in the street. [via Laughing Squid]
Freedom Tower Base Jump
As noted, the three Freedom Tower base jumpers were caught after filming their epic stunt, and subsequently released on a $3,500 bail. They asked for support in paying legal fees, but found it tough to find sympathizers after the act itself sparked fears of terrorism.
Sneaking On Top Of The Great Pyramid Of Giza To Take Photos
In March 2014, Russian photographer Vitaliy Raskalov illegally climbed the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, along with two friends. These boys risked jailtime, and definitely not in a country you want to be jailed in, to take crazy photos of themselves and the view from one of the most mythical and mystical places on the planet. [via PetaPixel]
Pictures On Top Of The World's Largest Residential Building in Dubai
For another group of Russian thrill-seekers, the idea of fun includes climbing the globe's most impressive skyscrapers to take selfies at their very apexes. In May 2014, Alexander Remnev and his friends—members of an adventurous crew called Skywalkers—scaled Dubai's Princess Tower, the world's tallest residential building. At 1,350 feet, they must be huge fans of the most recent Mission Impossible flick. [Photo: Alexander Remnev/Caters News Agency via Weather]
Selfies On Top Of Christ The Redeemer
Photographer Lee Thompson received special permission to climb the 2,300 tall statue of Christ in Rio while covering the World Cup. In a blog post on The Flash Pack, Thompson explained (and defended) how unbelievable the selfie truly is:
"To some, taking pictures of yourself is considered vain, but this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity taught me that the selfie is a powerful medium through which we can share our perspectives, inspirations and personal stories with the world at large. It’s not about funny mugshots with scenic backdrops or daredevil stunts. It’s a way to mark the moment and say, “I was here."
This is exactly why these photos are so awesome. Sure, the deluge of Instagram likes is probably redeeming, but Thompson will go down in history (his family's history, at the very least) as a man who captured a special moment in a very special and hard-to-reach place. [via @theflashpack]
Say Cheese While Dangling From Skyscrapers
But wait— more Russians! In this instance, Kirill Oreshkin takes photographs of himself not just climbing skyscrapers, but hanging from them. We can't help but think that this kid must have the most popular Facebook profile pics. [via Huffington Post]
Gliding Through Urban Brazil Like A Bird
Not dissimilar to Alvarez' glide through Chile, Ludovic Woerth and Jokke Sommer took a swan dive into the epicenter of Rio de Janiero at the crack of dawn to get as close to feeling like a bird as humanly possible. [via Laughing Squid]
The Skydive Selfie
While perhaps not as daring as its above counterparts, this last video caught our attention because of the way it was filmed. Captured his plunge to the Earth using a personal camera—this video illustrates how modern tech can be so effective to self-capture a memorable moment (especially when skydiving companies upcharge an arm and a leg when they film your jump for you). While we can't legally advocate skydiving selfies, we can recommend one thing: don't let the camera get in the way of the rush.