What would you do if you could walk on air? That’s the question that our customer Nike put to viral photographer Benjamin Von Wong. And Von Wong replied “I want to showcase everyday people defying gravity a 1,000 feet up in the air.”
He didn’t know exactly how to do it, but he didn’t have to worry about having a computer that would stand up to the challenge. Von Wong took his Dell Rugged Latitude 30 stories up the side of a building in Manila, Philippines.
The results can be seen on his blog, but I also got a bit of the behind-the-scenes story from Von Wong.
Because he didn’t want to wait until he was on firm footing to know if he had the shot he needed, his laptop went out on a wire with him.
“Every time I’d jump around, it would crash into the glass,” side of the building he said and described it as “very exciting.”
I’d call that putting it mildly. Hanging on the side of a skyscraper while taking photos of social entrepreneurs – not professional models or stunt people – and even at times having someone hold your feet up to get them out of a shot would be vertigo-inducing for many of us.
“My rugged did get out of it a little dinged up,” Von Wong said. “But that’s what it’s for!”
Yes, Dell Latitude Rugged systems are designed specifically to take a beating, so few dings are no big deal. But with photography as his profession, why would Von Wong have had a rugged laptop even before undertaking this adventure?
Well, Von Wong doesn’t typically play it safe in a studio. Hanging from buildings is just one way he takes photos that, as he puts it, “people think are photoshopped.” His surreal imagery has been known to involve both fire and water, so he needs a system that can be prepared to face the elements.
But why did he choose to place social entrepreneurs in the element of air for this particular project?
Von Wong has a passion to connect people and a recent focus on conservation related projects.
“I greatly believe in the power of humanity to solve problems,” he told fstoppers this summer. “When we decide to do something, we can.”
Some of his recent work is designed to get people talking about plastic pollution. A topic near and dear to Dell’s Social Good Advocate Adrian Grenier whom Von Wong joined on a Dell-hosted panel discussion at last year’s SXSW.
Grenier helped Dell understand the breadth of challenges our oceans face today, and now we are creating the first commercial-scale global ocean plastics supply chain. But you don’t have to be a worldwide corporation to make a difference, and that’s what Von Wong wanted to convey in his latest work.
“By showcasing everyday people doing extraordinary things, I hope that viewers, will feel empowered to challenge themselves, support others and to pursue amazing life experiences of their own,” he said.
I’m glad to see that our Dell Rugged system was there to take a few hits and help Von Wong create his own amazing experience. You can see from the expression of the Manila school children pictured below looking at the just-captured images, it’s pretty jaw-dropping.