Meet the Outlaws

warning: if you are afraid of heights, you may not want to continue reading…

if you don’t already know about them, I am going to introduce you to an underground (well maybe not so much anymore) subculture of individuals on Instagram.

say hello to the ‘Outlaw Instagrammers’




before I can even begin to discuss these guys and their work (as I would argue that it’s art) respect needs to be paid to the individuals most are claiming were the pioneers of this “movement.”  say hello to the Russian daredevils On The Roofs:


these ‘Outlaw Instagrammers’ climb sky-high structures, whether it be a building, a bridge, or even a crane to share what the view is like from up top.  I personally love these guys.  their shots are amazing and it also provides a different perspective.  as, let’s face it, there are only so many times you can look at the same landmark at the same angle.  over and over and over and over and over again.  I am glad that these guys are doing this, as I think their work is beautiful.

of course, I can certainly understand the safety concerns that come along with this.  to be fair though, the odds of getting heart disease, cancer or being in a car accident are much higher than falling.  however, there are those that really are viewing these individuals and their “work” as outlaws.

Outlaw Instagram - not allowed

even in their name, “outlaws,” there is such a negative connotation to this subculture and its aims.  what is wrong with going to extreme lengths to get an awesome photograph?  I mean heck, we now have camera tied to strings that fly over football games in hopes to not only provide a different viewing angle to the game, but ultimately to get that one perfect shot.  has it always been this way?  have we always, as a society since cameras were invented, been striving to get that one “best shot?” Professor Mason of the University of Virginia certainly thinks so:

You would find photographers [of the 19th-century exploration of the American West] going to extraordinary lengths to get their big heavy equipment over mountain tops and cliff faces.

also, isn’t extreme situations what National Geographic photographs been getting themselves into for years?  they now even have a section under the adventure tab of their website for Extreme Photo of the Week!

what do you think?  think that this is a subculture that should be stopped?  or do you think it’s art and should continue?  as I mentioned before, I think it’s art, just like graffiti can be, and I would love for them to continue sharing these photographs.  as Adrian Chen  of New York Magazine states:

outlaw Instagrammers have more in common with graffiti artists… [but] are better-positioned to thrive in post-Giuliani, post-Facebook New York than old-school graffiti writers: transgressive enough to be cool, but innocuous enough to amass a huge following without getting hunted down by the NYPD.

I will say though, if you are just coming to visit NYC for the first time it’s probably best that you should not expect to views like this or go seeking them out on your own.  maybe for your first time just stick with visiting the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock.  you won’t get arrested if you visit the observation decks of these guys.


can’t get enough of these crazy photographs and stunts?  check out the video below for even more sky-high goodness.  this time from Hong Kong.


images of Outlaw Instagrammers kindly borrowed from this Business Insider article.



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