Just Don’t Look Down: ‘Rooftopping’ Photography by Tom Ryaboi [Gallery]

In the world of the urban explorer, finding a high roost to observe the city provides a perspective unlike anything beneath it.

  • Seen here is a stunning glimpse of Toronto, with the CN Tower in the background, at twilight from a downtown rooftop. Photo: Tom RyaboiSeen here is a stunning glimpse of Toronto, with the CN Tower in the background, at twilight from a downtown rooftop. Photo: Tom Ryaboi
  • “I like to travel, see the world, where I hope to learn something, grow, and maybe leave something behind," says Ryaboi. "Naturally, somewhere along the line, I wanted to capture some of these moments. The camera allowed me to capture beautiful places, interesting people, and sometimes even myself." Photo: Tom Ryaboi“I like to travel, see the world, where I hope to learn something, grow, and maybe leave something behind," says Ryaboi. "Naturally, somewhere along the line, I wanted to capture some of these moments. The camera allowed me to capture beautiful places, interesting people, and sometimes even myself." Photo: Tom Ryaboi
  • Nighttime in Toronto isn't as dark as you'd think based on this 'Rooftopping' photo of the city after nightfall. Photo: Tom RyaboiNighttime in Toronto isn't as dark as you'd think based on this 'Rooftopping' photo of the city after nightfall. Photo: Tom Ryaboi
  • Photo: Tom RyaboiPhoto: Tom Ryaboi
  • "I hate to be coy, but there is really only one way to find out what that is... I urge you to get on a roof and discover it for yourself!" Tom urges. Photo: Tom Ryaboi"I hate to be coy, but there is really only one way to find out what that is... I urge you to get on a roof and discover it for yourself!" Tom urges. Photo: Tom Ryaboi
  • "It is quite addictive, standing on top of the world, but there is something more," says Tom. Photo: Tom Ryaboi"It is quite addictive, standing on top of the world, but there is something more," says Tom. Photo: Tom Ryaboi
  • "Here I am, 25 years later, still trying to sit on top of the tallest things I see," says Tom. "When you climb to the top of a skyscraper and open its hatch for the first time, a pure rush of adrenaline hits you as you overlook the city from above." Photo: Tom Ryaboi"Here I am, 25 years later, still trying to sit on top of the tallest things I see," says Tom. "When you climb to the top of a skyscraper and open its hatch for the first time, a pure rush of adrenaline hits you as you overlook the city from above." Photo: Tom Ryaboi
  • Describing his passion for 'Rooftopping' Tom says: "To this day my father often likes to tell the story of when he came home for work one day (my mother was already at home busy with her daily house work) and I was sitting on top of the fridge, looking down on both of them. I was almost two years old then and they are still trying to figure out how I got up there." Photo: Tom RyaboiDescribing his passion for 'Rooftopping' Tom says: "To this day my father often likes to tell the story of when he came home for work one day (my mother was already at home busy with her daily house work) and I was sitting on top of the fridge, looking down on both of them. I was almost two years old then and they are still trying to figure out how I got up there." Photo: Tom Ryaboi
  • "There is a group of very dedicated individuals who will not rest until they are able to stand on every roof in the city and call it theirs, even if it's just for a minute or two," explains Tom. Photo: Tom Ryaboi"There is a group of very dedicated individuals who will not rest until they are able to stand on every roof in the city and call it theirs, even if it's just for a minute or two," explains Tom. Photo: Tom Ryaboi
  • "Don't get me wrong, I'm not attempting to take credit for something that has been done for centuries (maybe even millennia, as long as there have been roofs I guess) but what is happening here is special," says Tom. Photo: Tom Ryaboi"Don't get me wrong, I'm not attempting to take credit for something that has been done for centuries (maybe even millennia, as long as there have been roofs I guess) but what is happening here is special," says Tom. Photo: Tom Ryaboi
  • This style of photography is called 'Rooftopping' (for obvious reasons) and is all the rage in Toronto, Tom explains. Photo: Tom RyaboiThis style of photography is called 'Rooftopping' (for obvious reasons) and is all the rage in Toronto, Tom explains. Photo: Tom Ryaboi
  • Photo: Tom RyaboiPhoto: Tom Ryaboi

The internet has spawned a seemingly astronomical number of memes over the last ten years or so, but perhaps none so adrenaline-soaked as “rooftopping.” To perform this feat, a photographer must find the tallest building they can, or really any extremely tall structure will do, climb out as close to the edge as possible and snap a photo. The result is both some amazing vistas and some intense rushes.

Travel photographer Tom Ryaboi told the Daily Mail that “it is quite addictive, standing on top of the world, but there is something more. There is really only one way to find out what that is… I urge you to get on a roof and discover it for yourself.”

“Rooftopper” Tom Ryaboi has spent his life dangling from buildings trying to achieve what he calls the ultimate rush. He said: “When you climb to the top of a skyscraper and open its hatch for the first time, a pure rush of adrenaline hits you as you overlook the city from above.

He continued: “There is a group of very dedicated individuals who will not rest until they are able to stand on every roof in the city and call it theirs, even if it’s just for a minute or two” (check his website, Blur Surfing, to see more photos.)

Mr. Ryaboi, whose skyline shots of Toronto are putting ‘Rooftopping’ on the map, said: “To this day my father often likes to tell the story of when he came home for work one day, my mother was already at home, and I was sitting on top of the fridge looking down on both of them.”

“I was almost two years old then and they are still trying to figure out how I got up there. Here I am, 25 years later, still trying to sit on top of the tallest things I see. It is quite addictive, standing on top of the world, but there is something more. There is really only one way to find out what that is… I urge you to get on a roof and discover it for yourself.” [Photos via Tomerico/500px; via Toronto SunMy Modern Met and Daily Mail (UK)]

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