‘Even though Parkour is a new sport, it really is the most classic of all sports.’ My friend Frosti Zernow said during an interview once, talking about how Parkour goes back to natural movement with no assisting tools. What he said resonated with me, and sums up where the idea for Nude Parkour came from, even though he said it after I shot my first nude series with Tim Shieff.
When my friend Erica, born and raised in Colorado, visited Bangkok, I asked her if she was down to explore the rooftops above the city’s crowded alleys. Spontaneously she said yes, and we leaped into a day of ridiculous urban streaking.
The next morning on the roof of my apartment building. The sun has just started to peak above the horizon and Erica is looking great. Unfazed by the heights, she moves graciously around the rooftop, and while it’s obvious that she isn’t wearing any clothes it never feels as if she is naked, just comfortable.
Twenty-five floors above street level, we are shooting right next to a main intersection, and it would be easy for people to spot her balancing close to the ledge. We know people rarely look up from their mobile phones, or, in Bangkok’s case, the many delicious foods offered from street stalls at breakfast time.
Done with the roof, we treat ourselves to some street food and jump in a cab headed towards the next location, an abandoned 30-story high-rise. The outside is boarded up, and after sneaking around we jump the fence, just to be caught by security on the other side. He is not a man in uniform with a mustache, but a hysteric middle-aged woman and her shirtless boyfriend drinking a Chang. Both live in a make-shift hut on the ground floor, and while the boyfriend clearly doesn’t care, she won’t stop talking while pointing us to the exit, resistant to my bribery.
We refuse to leave, so she decides to get her boss, and walks off and leaves us with her boyfriend. Sensing that we might have a chance I inform him that we’ll follow her, to which he just shrugs. As soon as we stroll around the corner, out of his sight, we pick up pace and dart up the first staircase, knowing that they will be too lazy to ascend 30-stories to kick us out. We made it!
The rooftop is breathtaking! A huge metal structure sits on the building like a rusty crown for us to play on. Erica starts exploring the environment while I’m looking for a shot. Impressed by Erica’s bravery and control I decide to ask her for a shot I’ve had in the back of my head, prepared that she will call me crazy.
I walk her up to the frontside of the building, where part of the metal crown has broken off and fallen back onto the rooftop. I turn around and ask her, knowing that losing her balance would mean sure death, ‘Do you think you could lean out onto the beam?’
Erica looks at me and then leans over the edge, inspects the beam closely, places her palms on it to get an idea of how it would feel. She turns back around. I’m ready for a ‘No, absolutely not,’ but Erica says ‘I think I could hang off of it, do you think that would look good?’
Model - Erica Nicole Madrid - @erica_n_madrid - ericamadrid.com - YoutubePhotos - Jason Paul - @thejasonpaul