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Breaking and Entering 101 with On the Roofs


From Hong Kong to Istanbul, Paris to Dubai, the photographers behind the daring traveling outfit On the Roofs have been scaling skyscrapers and scrambling up the face of monuments for the better part of five years, all in the name of finding the best, highest, most impossible view.

A collection of Russian thrill seekers armed with cameras and good shoes, OTR began to explore the globe after their country’s own architectural resources had been exhausted. Since then, they’ve climbed around 1000 buildings across 50 different countries, sometimes trespassing and breaking in to get the shot they’re looking for. More often, it’s not the heights that are most daunting; it’s the possibility they might get caught by the police and—in the case of one trip to China, in particular—banned from the country. (Some landmark buildings have gotten wise to the group and have pictures of them to prevent them from entering.)

Their adventurous spirit and brash fearlessness, though inspiring, has gotten them into some trouble on occasion, and not necessarily of the legal variety. Last year, they scaled the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt. While the shots were certainly something to behold, people weren’t so enthusiastic about their climbing all over ancient monuments like a jungle gym. OTR released an apology afterward.

For their latest stunt, the group got into Hong Kong’s China Online Center, where—after climbing around the very top rafters of the 659-foot building—they managed to plug into the computer terminal hosting the massive LED billboard and change the sign to play their own video, treating the city to a giant “WHAT’S UP HONG KONG?” in the place of its usually advertisement. Check it out below, just, you know, try not to look down. 

All images courtesy of On the Roofs.