They say photographers work extremely hard on their work creating images with passion and helping us view the world through their works with a visual eye. And where there is passion, there is result. Meet one such photographer Taran Theti, whose hobby as a photographer has taken him places, literally.
Recently, Theti was part of a group of four renowned photographers from around the world taking part in a unique exhibition at the Publicis Groupe Headquarters on the Champs Elysees in Paris. Conceived by Nissan to launch the new Qashqai, the interactive exhibition ‘Rooftopping – Urban by instinct’ showcased the works of Tom Ryaboi, Aurelie Curie, Andrew Tso, and Taran who are quite evidently the cream of top rooftopping photographers. Displaying photos taken on the rooftops of skyscrapers in Toronto, Seattle, Hong Kong and Melbourne, the show has been reported to be a heart stopping presentation of climbing and defying gravity way up in the air and “awakening the nerves” for some.
Veteran rooftopper Ryaboi has been quoted as saying , “There is no better place to see this majestic relationship than from the top of a building looking down, this is where the eternal and fleeting world meets, at the boundary between earth and sky. It has always been in our human nature to want to explore our surroundings, but now that we live in cities many have shelved this instinct. Rooftoppers are now taking this instinct to a whole new level.”
“Indeed,” echoes Theti, “There is adventure, thrill and risks and we try to take adventure in the urban environment.” He explains that rooftopping is, in fact, a sub category of a hobby called urban exploration where the urban environment is explored. “Rooftop is one part, the other is underground section. You can go into underground drains and sewerage, the kind of places that regular people do not get to see. There are risks, you have to have some knowledge. Obviously common sense prevails and you know your own limitations.”
Theti traces his passion to his fascination for heights as a kid when he was in India. Incidentally he migrated to Australia as a 15-year old, so he has vivid memories. Also his interest in mythology where people built heights, etc., to be on top and be closer to the Gods sustained the fascination.
In 2007 Theti got his first camera. It was also a time when he was into video games that took him to abandoned buildings and empty spaces. That gave him an idea of what he wanted to do with his camera. He wanted to do something different because “everyone else was doing the same thing, taking pictures of flowers etc. So I started with buildings and eventually I found abandoned rooftops buildings which are still functioning but were on the rooftop.”
While rooftop photography is an exciting concept, Theti warns that a lot of people take negatively to it against the realm of public safety. “Because we get access to the top they say there is also good chance of some assassin with a sniper getting there.” Perhaps that explains why many rooftoppers do not have their faces in the pictures or use real names. People have to be educated, says Theti, because there is definitely no intention of causing harm. “We are only working with aesthetics and the arts.”
Currently studying Masters of Architecture at Deakin University, Theti uses a Nikon D600 digital SLR camera to pursue his passion. He is slowly getting into fashion and model photography and admits to enjoying wedding photography. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. For this photographer beauty seems to be endless affair between concrete, steel, people, et al.
By Indira Laisram