At the edge of a life, beyond fear.
The dream of human flight, in its modern expression.
A photographer's journal of a week atop a glass ledge over rural China in 2018.
Multimedia photo story by Rodrigo Gaya Villar
A photographer's journal of a week in rural China with 16 of the world's most talented wingsuit pilots in the world. One who so happens to be family, my first cousin from Mexico, Vicente Cajiga Villar. Growing up together, I'd seen him live some extreme moments, yet nothing had prepared me for this unique opportunity. Seen here on the final day, off the old exit point, in his original Wixarika art wingsuit.
Although I tried my best to capture as many images, sounds, and moments as possible of my trip, the most special were those moments with everyone, which may not have been documented, just lived.
On the mountain which inspired the worlds of the Avatar movie, the World Wingsuit League hosted their 5th annual World Wingsuit League showcase in Tianmen Shan, Zhangjiajie, China, sixteen wingsuit pilots from across the world were invited to showcase their sport through seven days, and three competitions, Flair Height, Target Precision, and speed. The event organized by two legendary pilots, and WWL founders, Jeb Corliss (yup, that guy) and James Boule.
They were the first wingsuit pilots to fly though the crevasse at the edge of the mountain., now they've brought a showcase of world-class wingsuit pilots to the edge of a mountain in rural China, so magical it inspired the worlds in the Avatar film.
Fourteen of the best wingsuit base-jumpers gathered from all over the world in the Beijing, China Airport before setting off to Zhangjiajie, in the northwest of China's Hunan province. A city at the foothills of a massive national park, encompassing thousands of jagged quartzite sandstone columns, many of which rise over 200m.
The international group of athletes are as different as their nationalities. Backgrounds range from an ex-motorcycle racer, special forces police sniper, big-wave surfer, to classic professional skydivers. I couldn't help but notice that they looked like 'common' people. At one point before we first got up to the mountain, I easily envisioned myself as one of them. I had no idea what I was in for.
The wingsuit pilots. Left to right: Gabriel Lott ....
The Exit Point peaks just beyond the clouds to the left.
Fernando Ortiz, wears his modern-day Chinelo outfit in Tepoztlan, Morelos. Adorned with Star Wars characters.
Photo by Rodrigo Gaya, Carnaval 2019.
The statue commemorating the 3 lives lost to the sport on this mountain.
Photo by Rodrigo Gaya,Villar. Exit Point, 2018.