This 'rooftopper' is looking for danger and a breathtaking photo
Written by Ethan Creer
Images courtesy of Lucan Coutts
What’s something that’s seriously illegal, but increasingly popular? Well, if you asked emerging Canadian photographer Lucan Coutts, he’d be quick to offer you his answer: Trespassing.
Over the past two years, Coutts has gained a very significant following for his mind-blowing images of Toronto’s unique landscape, but these images often require some serious guts. Not unlike Toronto’s infamous “Crane Girl”, albeit in a much more skilled fashion, the photographer finds his way onto the peaks of various skyscrapers and cranes in search of the perfect photo, and the heights he has reached can seem unbelievable.
“It took me about a year to get to my first rooftop, but when I got there, it was so incredible”, the photographer muses. “Once I got there, I needed to go to another.”
Just as Toronto’s Crane Girl discovered, roof-topping is a tremendously dangerous activity. On the subject, a representative of Toronto Police Services stated, “As far as rooftopping is concerned, where the law is broken and where we have evidence, we will apply the law.”
Coutts has attracted a handsome following on his Instagram for his dazzling images. His feet dangle over the edges of massive buildings, inches away from death. It’s the perfect fusion of thrill-seeking and photography, but Coutts isn’t the only one infatuated with photographing a soaring perspective of the city. The photographer is one of many in Toronto’s roof-topping community, and he often collaborates with other daredevils whom he meets through his Instagram account.
Being in such a tight-knit group of creators can be exceptionally helpful for a growing artist, but the search for individuality becomes difficult. “In the Toronto community, everybody’s posting the same photo of the CN Tower. You have to try finding the things that people just don't shoot,” insists Coutts, “I want my photos to feel like a dream; like you can look back on it and it’s like looking through a window at the most vivid memory you’ve ever seen.”
In order to escape the conventional photographic archetype of Toronto’s cityscape, Coutts has gone completely against the grain of his community by exploring the city’s underground. “I’ve only shot there once, but it was the best night of my life, Coutts said. “I was up at four in the morning trying to get into the new subway extension. It was still under construction so it was the perfect opportunity. Everything down there was seriously like another world.”
As this trend grows, many more artists may decide to join the community, but Coutts’ gave a serious word of advice, “If anyone’s looking to go rooftopping, the most important thing is to stay safe, and make sure you never go alone.”