By Jamm Aquino
Now that our Progress Edition of Hawaii at Work has published, I can tell you a little story about a big fear that I had to overcome for my subject for Hawaii at Work--HEIGHTS!!!!
When we were asked to brainstorm ideas about photographing subjects with interesting jobs, the first people that came to mind were window washers--the fearless, rappelling, keepers of the some of the nicest views in the whole state. I turned specifically to World Wide because I had photographed a bunch of their crew a few years ago rappelling down Century Square in downtown with Jason hockey masks a la Friday the 13th for Halloween.
I've always had an admiration for the fearlessness these guys have in hanging off the side of a 400-foot tall building. Working them on this current assignment, the guys at World Wide gave me such great access and knowledge into their craft--400 feet in the air! The day I worked with them, they were working on One Waterfront Tower--the two building high-rise condominium across the street from our Restaurant Row newsroom. Site manager Steve Kaaa oversaw the operations and led us to the rooftop of the makai tower. Upon opening the rooftop, I was instantly mesmerized with the view looking out. But looking down....well, let's just say, knots began to form in my stomach.
As soon as Barry, Ikaika, and Gordon were rigged up and ready, they attached my safety rig so I can get onto the scaffolding. I noticed I was talking at 90 miles an hour, and my palms began to sweat. But I had to concentrate on the task at hand. An overhead perspective was best, and that meant lying prone on the scaffold to eliminate the guardrails in the photo.
It's pretty daunting to look down through the "cheese grater," as Barry put it, and see the street, cars, and pedestrians moving about like ants below your feet.
All in all, what an amazing experience. Am I still afraid of heights? HELL yeah! But seeing Barry, Gordon, and Ikaika in action, and seeing the passion for their craft was well worth the sweaty palms and dry mouth!