A New Altitude: photographer Ronnie Yip shoots the city from dizzying, dazzling heights
The latest trend in urban daredevilry is rooftopping, a style of bird’s-eye-view photography that often involves entering buildings without permission or scaling the exteriors of skyscrapers, and shooting the scenes below. The king of Toronto rooftopping is Ronnie Yip, who started shooting five years ago. Yip doesn’t break and enter—he has a knack for finding doors that have been left open or talking his way in by charming window washers and building managers, using his portfolio to convince them that his intentions are pure and his art worthy.
Getting inside is the easy part. At hundreds of metres up, freezing temperatures and strong winds create a hostile atmosphere. Yip occasionally uses straps and carabiners to keep his tripod secure, but otherwise he packs light, carrying only his Canon 5D Mark III camera, wide-angle lenses, a sandwich (he’s often up there for hours waiting for the right light) and occasionally a horse mask—“for the LOLs,” he says. The photos are luminous and vertigo-inducing. He edits them using exposure fusion, a technique that lets him combine the best elements of multiple frames. Each shot turns Toronto into a glowing, utopian version of itself while capturing its rapid skyward expansion. Here, above and below, are a few of our favourites.