Planet Gopro

When your life is no longer in your own HANDS

iD magazine - - Contents -

Are ac­tion cams com­pelling us to push the lim­its too far?

While rid­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle, BASE jump­ing, shoot­ing the curl, or brav­ing the bat­tle­field— more than 10 mil­lion peo­ple are now us­ing minia­ture cam­eras to film what they’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing as it hap­pens in the mo­ment. How­ever, it’s grad­u­ally be­com­ing clear: Ac­tion cams not only pro­vide sharp im­ages of ex­cit­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, they also change the be­hav­ior of those who wear them— more and more of­ten with fa­tal con­se­quences…

Two cen­time­ters is all that separates Ilya and Oleg from cer­tain death. The young men are bal­anc­ing on the metal grid of a crane with noth­ing but air be­neath them for 330 feet. The down­ward view is not for peo­ple with ver­tigo. It’s the per­fect pho­to­graph— if it had been taken five years ago. The prob­lem: Nowa­days, thou­sands of so-called “rooftop­pers” film and pho­to­graph them­selves on the roofs of the world us­ing ac­tion cams. There are al­ready higher and more spec­tac­u­lar spots. It’s a race for the best pic­tures, trig­gered by Gopro & Co. Both of th­ese young men in Yeka­ter­in­burg, Rus­sia, know this— and opt for an ul­ti­mate test of courage. Ilya firmly holds onto the crane with both hands and dan­gles from it be­fore grasp­ing Oleg’s arm with his right hand and let­ting go of the crane with his left. His life is lit­er­ally in Oleg’s hands— one of which is oc­cu­pied with press­ing the shut­ter of his de­vice. The photo is shared on­line and liked thou­sands of times within hours— a viral mega-hit that would’ve been im­pos­si­ble with­out a match­box-size cam­era.

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