Photo: Keow Wee Loong

NO PHOTOS

A sign has been hung at the entrance saying “no photos” or simply “no entry”, but, in the minds of intrepid photographers, this warning sounds like an invitation.
A
ndrej Ciesielski, a young German man aged 18 years old, was arrested by Egyptian authorities at the end of January. On what grounds? For climbing to the peak of the Pyramid of Cheops to take pictures. He took eight minutes to climb the 146 metres of the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was about the same time it took for his feat to go viral. He is not the only one: the On the Roofs boys have also managed to take photographs of the Egyptian pyramids from a different perspective. High places are the natural habitat of these young men, two of the most famous roofers online. This is what we call these urban climbers, who are addicted to adrenaline and aerial shots. The phenomenon triumphs everywhere, but Dubai has become the capital of this trend. Photographer Keow Wee Loong knows all about this, after climbing the 425 metres of what will be the tallest building – after the Burj Khalifa –Marina 101. From there, he could see the city from his favourite angle: at his feet.
Ilha da Queimada Grande is known as Snake Island. Public entry is prohibited.
Photo: @joaomarcosrosa

The most dangerous photo

On Ilha da Queimada Grande, 150 kilometres from São Paulo, there are between one and five snakes per square metre. The majority are venomous, like the 2,000 specimens of golden lancehead vipers. João Marcos Rosa is one of few photographers who have dared to set foot there.

But you don’t need to climb to dizzying heights to get a prohibited photograph. Alexander J. E. Bradley does just the opposite, delving into the depths of Paris to capture the lesser known side of the city of love. Of the 300 kilometres of galleries that comprise the Catacombs of Paris, only two are open to the public. The rest are the stalking ground of cataphiles: underground explorers who sneak in through secret entrances, even though they risk a fine. There they organise clandestine parties, cinema sessions and even underground swims. The Australian photographer and filmmaker has made a short film about one of these dives into the depths of Paris.
There are some places where immortalising moments is directly prohibited. This is the case in the mysterious Area 51, South Nevada. Its existence was confirmed in 2013, following years of speculation. It forms part of the Edwards Air Force Base and is thought to be the location for testing new arms, such as the U-2 planes used during the Cold War. Ufologists believe it hides something more: tests that would prove the existence of extraterrestrial life. Supposed sightings of UFOs are more frequent in this desert area in Nevada and, until now, the United States Government has not refuted this. Access is strictly forbidden. A complex security system protects the best kept secret in the United States.
The iconic sign was restored thanks to Playboy Hugh Hefner, who organised a charity auction to raise funds. Each letter went for 28,000 dollars.
Photo: Joel Doerfel
The Ark of the Covenant is also protected, though not by a sophisticated security system but by the High Priest. He is the only person with access to the Chapel of the Tablet at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia. According to legend, that is where this Old Testament relic can be found. There are people who believe it holds the tablets where the Ten Commandments of Moses are transcribed. In order to get a photograph, you have to be a cross between Indiana Jones and a millennial who really wants to update their Instagram.
State Route 375 is very near Area 51 and is known as the “Extraterrestrial Highway”. According to Nevada Tourism, it holds the record for UFO sightings.
Photo: Matthew Kavanagh

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