Photography and my fear of heights…
From my earliest memories as a child I’ve never liked heights. From standing on a chair to sitting on my fathers shoulder, I always got this weird light headed feeling. The only cure was to hold on tight. Even as an adult the feelings persisted but at least I had an understanding of why.
Many years ago on a family holiday to the States we stayed in the Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas for a few night. Back then it was an incredible place to stay and like no other hotel I’d seen. From memory theres a conventional looking part of the hotel and the pyramid, we book our stay in the latter. This is where things got a little crazy for me.
When leaving the room you’d think that I would avoid looking over the balcony, given the fact that you can’t see any supporting structure below. Well, you could understand maybe once, But every time! I’m putting that down to an over curious mind. Every time it had the same results, my legs instantly went to rubber. The only way for me to get to the elevators was to use the corridor wall for support. I probably looked like I had just left the bar and was snuggling to get back to my room at 9am. So not that unusual in Vegas.
At this point in my life my irrational fear of heights was pretty deep routed. How every early on in my photography career I learned that a camera became my own personal invincibility clock. Hand me camera and I get this wave of optimism and bravery, ignoring the perils and dangers of height. Well I wouldn’t say ignoring but I’m able to suppress the irrational fears and move forward with the task at hand.
The power of the camera in action. I was commissioned by a power supply company to photograph two local power stations that would involve some working at hight. During our conversation one of the questions they asked was I ok with working at height? Luckily the conversation was conducted through email or they may have picked up on my trepidation! Of course I said yes. I knew with my camera in hand anything is possible. All I would have to do would be take a giant step outside of my comfort zone.
The picture below was taken on top of a 650ft power station chimney. That was a hell of a climb even with reduced equipment levels. I would be lying if I said there was no fear but the overriding feeling was one of liberation. I also realised how out of shape I was back then. Thanksfully I’ve address that as well.
Face your fears…
I try to face my fears head on when possible. In this case its a psychological barrier and not a physical one. Many people in our world over come significantly bigger problems than mine. But this is still one I need to come too terms with. In business and life it’s good to push yourself. One day what seemed impossible might become your new everyday. Today I still have a healthy fear of heights but I can generally manage it without the aid of a camera… mostly.