Death-defying photography

Default avatar.
February 06, 2013
Death-defying photography.

ThumbnailWe’ve all heard of the suffering artist, but photographer Kerry Skarbakka is taking the idea of suffering for one’s craft to a whole new level. In his death-defying series The Struggle to Right Oneself the 42-year-old visual artist acts as his own model, falling from buildings, bridges, trees, mountains, and more — all while capturing each fall with his lens.

Granted, Skarbakka can’t be two places at once, so after setting the lighting and the shot just so, he enlists the help of an assistant to release the shutter. Drawing upon a background in martial arts, rock climbing, and even a bit of acting, the artist hooks himself with ropes, mountain-climbing gear, and harnesses (all obscured or removed in post-production, of course).

The result is a jarringly real finished product, where Skarbakka seems to have literally lost his footing on a flight of stairs, out a window, or even in the shower.

Part of the statement this performance-based photographer is seeking to make involves “the responsibility of each individual to catch ourselves from our own uncertainty.” And to send this philosophical message, Skarbakka has come away with a few fractured ribs, a dislocated shoulder, and a myriad of bumps and bruises. While it may seem perilous, this artistic daredevil doesn’t mind, as he sees it as a way to personally connect with his audience.

It is the ambiguity of the body’s position in space that allows and requires the viewer to resolve the full meaning of the photograph. Do we fall? Can we fly? If we fly then loss of control facilitates supreme control. — Kerry Skarbakka

Regardless of whether or not you choose to see a message in Skarbakka’s series, the images still speak for themselves. If nothing else, these gravity-defying shots remind us that for the true creative, virtually nothing is off limits in the quest for envelope-pushing art — not even a few broken bones.

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Falling

Which of Kerry Skarbakka’s shots do you think was most difficult to capture? Which one is your favorite? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Stacey Kole

Stacey Kole is a freelance writer and former magazine editor. When she’s not crafting copy or chasing after her two little boys, Stacey can be found drinking coffee, tea, or anything else with caffeine. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.

Read Next

15 Best New Fonts, June 2024

Welcome to our roundup of the best new fonts we’ve found online in the last month. This month, there are notably fewer…

20 Best New Websites, June 2024

Arranging content in an easily accessible way is the backbone of any user-friendly website. A good website will present…

Exciting New Tools for Designers, June 2024

In this month’s roundup of the best tools for web designers and developers, we’ll explore a range of new and noteworthy…

3 Essential Design Trends, June 2024

Summer is off to a fun start with some highly dramatic website design trends showing up in projects. Let's dive in!

15 Best New Fonts, May 2024

In this month’s edition, there are lots of historically-inspired typefaces, more of the growing trend for French…

How to Reduce The Carbon Footprint of Your Website

On average, a web page produces 4.61 grams of CO2 for every page view; for whole sites, that amounts to hundreds of KG…

20 Best New Websites, May 2024

Welcome to May’s compilation of the best sites on the web. This month we’re focused on color for younger humans,…

Has AI Killed User Testing?

Web designers employ user testing to evaluate a website’s functionality and overall UX (user experience). Various…

Exciting New Tools for Designers, May 2024

This year, we’ve seen a wave of groundbreaking apps and tools. AI is reshaping the industry, enhancing productivity,…

Using AI to Predict Design Trends

Design trends evolve at a blistering pace, especially in web design. On multi-month projects, you might work on a…

15 Best New Fonts, April 2024

Just like web design, type design follows trends. And while there’s always room for an exciting outsider, we tend to…

3 Essential Design Trends, May 2024

Integrated navigation elements, interactive typography, and digital overprints are three website design trends making…