It’s rare that mere mortal people can be made to look like superhumans without the aid of some fancy dress, but this series Skihopp (which is Norwegian for ski jump) by photographer David Ryle does it effortlessly. It follows a professional ski jumper as he ascends to the top of an impossibly high structure, pauses for a moment at the top to contemplate what he’s about to undertake, and then jumps, soaring effortlessly through the sky.
“I used to watch Ski Sunday when I was a kid,” David explained to us, “and I think ski jumping always fascinated me. I have a beautiful illustration by a friend in my living room of a ski jumper flying over a city. I’ve always liked the fact that it seems almost unreal that people would choose to jump off a hill attached only to some skis, as a sport.” The trip didn’t go off entirely without issues, he continued. “The day before we set off the temperature lifted by 5°,” he explained, “and if the snow melts then ski jumping isn’t so much fun.” In spite of spending such a length of time with the professional athletes, David didn’t feel any particular temptation to hop to the slopes himself. “I’ve never even worn a pair of skis. I think I have a healthy concern for heights, so just observing it was enough!”
The photographs that came out of the trip are almost painfully crisp in their clarity – not a single perspective is obscured nor an outline blurred in his images of the athlete perched on top of the jump, or flying through the air miles above the lens. The effect is a completely spellbinding record of the jumper’s ability. If you’re captivated, watch the film below, made with Gemma Fletcher and Jorge Dieguez. It’ll put the whole project into perspective and have you drooling at your desk.