By Tom Dare
THESE INCREDIBLE images show how a New York-based free-runner takes his life into his own hands by performing death-defying poses from the side of city skyscrapers to capture the perfect shot.
Images show 20-year-old Steven Peralta, from North Bergen, New Jersey, USA, hanging naked from some scaffolding hundreds of feet in the air, while another shows him dangling his feet over the edge of a skyscraper looking down on Times Square.
Further pictures show him dangling his leg over the side of a building in downtown New York, while another sees him dicing with death as he holds onto a rope while hanging down the side of building.
Steven says he’s been practicing for long enough now that he doesn’t feel any fear when he scales these huge buildings searching for the perfect shot.
However, shockingly enough, he admits he was afraid of heights when he first started climbing to the top of buildings.
“Originally, I was afraid of heights, but fear is one hell of an incentive,” he says.
“At first, I remember things were a bit tense and uneasy during the whole act, but now it’s all fun and games even as I dangle hundreds of feet in the air.
“It all came about when I was introduced to the art of parkour and free-running and just expressing myself through movement. At first It was practicing flips and vaults at the park and then it became about experiencing new things in different places.
“What you see is only a percentage of what is really going on, but what you see is what you get, there is no angle to fake it, there is no photoshop, there are no second chances.
“When you see a photo of me hanging hundreds of feet in the air there are no ropes, no safety nets or harnesses. It’s a young man dangling above a height that will surely kill him. What you’re looking at is confidence. You’re looking at fun, youth, and just how fragile life is. You are witnessing me living my life to its full potential.”
So, what’s been his most dangerous shoot to date?
“My most daring photo by far has to be the one of me hanging off a rope on top of a New York city hotel,” he says.
“Not only did I not know what it was tied to, or if it would hold me, but to actually get the shot I was looking for took three separate occasions of me risking it all by hanging off this rope that’s been there for who knows how long.
“What makes it even worse is during the second attempt of shooting this, my friend thought it would be a great shot if he reached out his hand and I grabbed onto it to get a shot of him helping me up.
“But as I reached for his hand I slipped, and had to grasp the rope with both hands. I even had to use my friend to help me get back up.”
Steven, who goes by the Instagram handle @wildboysteve, is currently working as a food runner in his home state, but eventually wants to be able to free-run and free-climb full time.
And he has a message for people who criticise him for what he does and the risks he takes.
“Some people look at what I do and say I’m someone who is looking for attention, some will say I don’t care or value life, and others will simply say I just don’t have a brain,” he says.
“One thing I would love for everyone to understand is, it’s not that I’m stupid, it’s not that I don’t care about my life, and it’s not for others. It is simply my way of living.
“I feel most alive when I’m closest to dying, I love being able to share the moment with others and I love life. That’s why I choose to live rather than spend it wasting away day by day.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/wildboysteve