Up Close: Wall of Death

The stuntmen of Allahabad, north India, risk their lives daily by riding motorbikes around vertical walls made from salvaged wood. Defying gravity through sheer momentum, they create a vertiginous, noisy whirl of action to enthrall the crowds.

  • Words + Photography: Sahil Lodha

This image is from a project on the wall of death riders in Allahabad, a city in north India, who every day risk life and limb to earn money at local fairs. It is extremely risky for both the performers and audience members, but always draws a huge crowd. The first time I saw it I was completely captivated, and I wanted to capture that experience in this series. Riding ancient bikes that look as if they haven’t been maintained since they left the factory, the stuntmen drive at breakneck speeds on vertical walls built from salvaged wood.

The stuntmen drive at breakneck speeds on vertical walls built from salvaged wood.

But as if these stunts weren’t crazy enough, and the walls not rickety enough, the stuntmen place themselves in even greater peril by driving cars around the walls as well. Everything is fast, loud and dangerous. It’s one of the most breathtaking experiences I’ve ever had.

Sahil Lodha is a photographer based in London

Article taken from
Articles

Further Reading

Gaucho: Rebels of the Estancias

The gaucho has been an iconic figure for centuries, emblematic of South America’s untamed landscapes. Yet a shift in farming culture combined with new economic demands means that now extinction threatens.

Swimming Upstream

This year's forest fires in the Amazon marked an environmental catastrophe, but a Rolex-award-winning scheme to save its largest fish spells hope for the future.

AI Killed the Radio Star?

Last year Francois Pachet was poached by Spotify as one of the world’s foremost pioneers in applying AI to music. As he pushes computers closer to the Holy Grail of composing their own works, should musicians fear or celebrate him?

Jason Everman: The Life Quixotic

The one-time Nirvana and Soundgarden guitarist went to war yet outlived the frontmen from both bands. He discusses a life in music and the military, and the lessons learnt from the original Renaissance Man, Cellini.

North: Svalbard

A short film about how an archipelago high within the Arctic Circle became increasingly linked to developments in climate science, and climate change.

Maarad: A Tale of Three Cities

An abandoned modernist fairground in Lebanon came to epitomise both the worst excesses of war and hopes of renewal afterwards.
Browse by Category