Climbing is more than a sport. Climbing is an attitude to life.
That’s what Red Bull Illume finalist Rainer Eder set out to prove in his latest shoot. Eder got into some jaw-dropping positions in order to capture some unique urban climbing shots.
The photoshoot features climbers hanging off unexpected urban settings like an elevator shaft, a crane, a cable car and a pile of old scrapped cars.
“The idea was to shoot climbers in a very special environment, not like a normal urban climbing area, somewhere where nobody would expect them,” says Rainer.“A lot of climbing shots look very similar. The idea of this shoot was to try to capture something really different,” he adds.
To get the shots, Rainer had to call upon his own extensive climbing experience to get into position. “The most difficulty I had was on the crane. With the other shoots, like the cable car, it was easier to move a little left or right and find the best angle.”
But for the crane shoot, he spent over an hour fixing ropes just to get into place, then spent almost two hours hanging in a sitting harness beneath the crane almost 50m off the ground. Once in, it was almost impossible to change position.
“I had a small seat. It was not such a big problem,” he shrugs.
Working in such an extreme location, he had to make sure all his equipment was secured via a sling to his harness. Then there were the unique challenges faced by the climber, Magnus Midtboe. Photographers are used to the demands of their models. Even the toughest of climbers is no exception!
“We had to break because the steel was sharp for his poor hands,” Rainer laughs.
He used a Nikon D3s and took 24mm-200mm lenses, along with his Profoto flashlight for the shoot. Then he tried to follow his maxim of ‘being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing’.
“I just let them climb so they forget they are in the middle of a photoshoot,” says Rainer. “I prefer spontaneous shots.”
He also likes to borrow from fashion photographers. “They take photos at absolutely crazy locations and they show the models and fashion in a way nobody would expect! I can also say that I am ‘different’. I like unusual things and go searching for them. If I have an idea, it is constantly spinning around in my mind,” he says.
Rainer had the idea for the shoot but it took a year of planning and discussions with sponsor Mammut before it eventually came to fruition late in 2011. By then, the concept for each image had been worked out in detail and sketched by the brand's ad team (pictured, above). The Swiss photographer has only praise for everyone involved. “I want to thank Mammut and all the climbers for making it possible!”
To enter a competition to win one of Rainer's prints, click here.