Do you know what could happen after a night of crazy partying and binge drinking? Yes, tripping off the stairs and breaking lips and teeth is one possible consequence. But the other, more exciting one, is that you could make up brand new words. Actually, this is how the word `selfie` was born. It was officially used for the first time in the description of a photo showing an Australian youth in the honorable position described above – now that’s an experience you’ve gotta share with friends –, and from that moment on it gained popularity with such speed that in the same year, 2013, it was chosen by Oxford Dictionaries as The Word of The Year.
In the meantime, self-portraits showing the level of drunkenness got a name of their own – that’s ‘drelfies’, from drunk + selfies – while ‘selfie’ has reached another level of meaning: it’s the art of showing how super cool you are. The next step was taking selfies of flat abs, six packs, beach bodies, and all there is to brag about. Then, it progressed to taking selfies with celebs, which was a rather old habit, but didn’t have a name at that time. Finally, daredevil photographers and other selfie-lovers have transformed a ridiculously simple click into a life-threatening activity.
Here you have some of the most striking selfies ever. They’re terrifying, exciting, funny, and a whole lot more than that: they show a larger than life experience. We can only watch in awe and envy those guys for their guts – and also for the likes, shares and retweets their selfies get.
Vitalyi Raskalov and Vadim Makhorov – The Urban Ninjas
Keep these names in mind as you will hear about these guys again. They are two Russian men in their early twenties, known for their hobby of climbing the tallest buildings in the world and taking selfies or shooting photos of each other in breath-taking positions. They use no safety gear, not even appropriate shoes. The two daredevils just put on a pair of comfy sneakers, jeans and, occasionally, a Tee, and here they go climbing buildings hundreds of feet tall.
This activity is known in Russia as skywalking. You know that skywalkers in general tend to be weirdos – there was this Anakin Skywalker I used to know, that fit the description well… – but these days, they are pushing their limits to an incredible maximum. Just look where these guys have climbed.
They started by scaling ordinary apartment blocks in their neighborhood and taking selfies to post on their social media pages, but they soon got bored, and that’s where the real fun began. First, they checked the tallest Russian skyscrapers and bridges off their list. Then, when Russia was no longer enough, they went throughout Europe and climbed the tallest and most famous buildings they came across: The Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral in France, La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Spain, Poland’s skyscrapers, and many others. They shot some of the most astonishing selfies you can find on the internet… and then they got bored again.
The two chums then headed for Egypt. Yes, they are the wackos who made news for being able to dodge guards for about five hours and risking jail just to climb the Great Pyramid of Giza and take a selfie – or several – on top of it. Later, they issued an official apology to the Egyptian government, for breaking the law. However, judging by the thrilling photos they had the chance to shoot there, you can rest assured they weren’t that sorry.
Their next target was Asia. If you feel dizzy and your palms start sweating when you’re near the ledge of a 20-foot high balcony, imagine that these dudes climbed an almost 650 meter (that’s over 2000 feet) tall building – Shanghai Tower, the highest building in China, second tallest in the world. Again, they didn’t have permission and didn’t use any sort of climbing gear, but they made it to the top and back safe and sound. The Chinese authorities missed them this time, but now they are on alert – as are all skyscraper guards around the world – for the Urban Ninjas. But really, who cares? The selfie was well worth it.
But do you know what the greatest, most terrifying risk is when scaling such heights? Forget the risk of death, they’re used to that. But just imagine what would have happened if they accidentally dropped their camera or smartphone: no selfie, no proof they’ve been there. Now that’s what I call a catastrophe. But as long as they are still granted visas in countries around the world, we can expect to see more of them soon.