Even window washers can be scary when you don’t expect to see them outside your office window. But a camera-wielding man dangling from a single rope goes beyond the pale. Caracas-born photographer Carlos Ayesta has freaked out thousands of Parisians over the past few years, rappelling down the side of Paris’s skyscrapers to shoot remarkable images of the city’s towers.
Ayesta is an architectural photographer and urban spelunker: With the help of his team, he’s rappelled down the sides of the tallest buildings in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower and the shell-shaped Center of New Industries and Technologies. He calls the ongoing project Vertical Visions of La Defence, the Paris business district that’s long been at the center of a city-wide scandal over the construction of new skyscrapers (basically, companies want them and Parisians don’t).
Ayesta’s photos are less about the contentious politics of the neighbourhood and more about capturing the contentious buildings from a unique perspective. “My approach of taking photographs whilst abseiling and from hanging platforms shows the architecture in another dimension,” Ayesta told Dezeen recently. “I can take pictures of hidden things. No-one on the ground or on top of the buildings can see what I see.”
Check out the video below to see Ayesta dangling from the top of La Grande Arche, the monumental Mitterrand-era rectangular monument designed by Johann Otto von Spreckelsen in the 1980s — and make sure to peep the surprised building occupants in several of the images.