Fun Verticality

This week’s post is a companion piece to “Powerful Verticality.” The photos in this post have the same theme of verticality except that they are not dramatic nature images. Most of the subjects in these photos are people experiencing the power of verticality firsthand. I have also included a few other unusual examples of verticality in this post.

Human Towers

This picture sparked my interest in finding out more about human towers. Unfortunately, there is no English photo description available for this image. The photographer is unknown.

Japanese Acrobat.jpg

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

日本語: 日本の大道芸

Date: 2 February 2014

Source: インターネット

In Catalonia, Spain, building human towers is a tradition that reaches back to the end of the 18th century. In this part of the world, a human tower is called a castell. A castell consists of people called castellers who form the pinya or base layer of the human tower and additional castellers who form the upper levels of the human tower. Each level of the castell has its own name, and there are also specific names for the number of people within each level. Here is an excerpt of the elaborate castell naming system from Wikipedia:

Common terms indicating the number of people for each level of a tower:

  • Pilar (Eng. “pillar”): one person per level
  • Torre (“tower”): two people per level
  • Tres : three people per level
  • Quatre : four people per level
  • Cinc : five people per level

Numbers of levels most commonly built:

  • Sis : six levels high
  • Set : seven levels
  • Vuit : eight levels
  • Nou : nine levels
  • Deu : ten levels

Besides having their own castell naming system, castellers have their own dress code and motto. Wikipedia notes that castellers typically wear an outfit consisting of “white trousers, a black sash, a bandana and a coloured shirt often bearing the team’s emblem.” The black sash is practical as well as decorative because “it supports the lower back and is used by other castellers in the team as a foothold or handhold when climbing up the tower.” Castellers also have a fitting motto: “Força, equilibri, valor i seny” (Strength, balance, courage and common sense).

Source: “Castell” — Wikipedia

Catalan Climbers.jpg

By Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA (Catalan Climbers) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Description:

Found behind a cathedral in Barcelona, Spain.

The men at the bottom are like flying buttresses, holding up a growing tower of people, culminating with two young girls in a crash helmets preparing to stand at the top.

Here’s a video of the build, just one of the many colorful celebrations of Catalan culture spilling into the streets and squares.

(I am looking forward to pouring through the photo backlog and sharing some of the trip highlights)

Date: 16 June 2007, 10:20

Source: Catalan Climbers

Note: The church behind is not the Cathedral. It’s Santa Maria del Mar. See Image:Santa Maria del Mar 3.jpg. And the human tower is a “2 de 8 amb folre” made by the Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls

4d8 baixa ll09.jpg

By Montserrat Torres


Photo Description:

(Editor’s Note: An English photo description is not available.)

Català: 4 de 8 dels Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia a Lleida

Date: 24 October 2009

Source: Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia

7de8 Castellers de Vilafranca fires maig 2012.jpg

By Carilec (Own work) [GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Human tower called 7de8. It was done at “fires de maig” in Vilafranca del Penedès, Catalonia.

Date: 20 May 2012

Source: Own work

Large Leaps

My celebration of being high in the sky continues with these fun photos of large vertical leaps.

The Leap of Faith.jpg

By Superhero Scramble, LLC (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Leap of Faith flip

Date: 4 November 2012, 13:23:49

Source: Own work

Asian carp (6887439853).jpg

By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters (Asian carpUploaded by Dolovis) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

At Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge in Missouri, an invasive Asian carp leaps high out of the water to escape biologists’ nets. (Steve Hillebrand/USFWS)

Date: 13 July 2009, 13:54

Source: Asian carp

Upside-Down Houses

In addition to inspiring my search for human towers and large leaps, thinking about verticality made me think about things that are upside down. This train of thought eventually led me to discover the existence of houses that are intentionally constructed upside down. The reasons for building these houses vary. Some were built as interesting theme park attractions, while others were built as unusual museum exhibits. There are quite a few upside-down houses across the world in countries such as Poland, Canada, Spain, Germany, Russia, and the United States.

An ‘upside-down house’ in open-air museum, Szybmark, Poland..jpg

By Tomasz Sienicki [user: tsca, mail: tomasz.sienicki at] (Photograph by Tomasz Sienicki) [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

An ‘upside-down house’ in an open-air museum (The Education and Region Promotion Centre) in Szybmark, northern Poland. The interior of the two-floor building (furniture, stairs, objects) is set upside-down as well, ie. is glued to the ceiling. Persons with inner-ear or balance disabilities are discouraged from entering the structure.

Date: 25 September 2008

Source: Photograph by Tomasz Sienicki

Device to Root out Evil.jpg

By Thom Quine


Photo Description:

Device to Root Out Evil (1997)

by Dennis Oppenheim

Galvanized structural steel, anodized perforated aluminum, transparent red Venetian glass, concrete foundations

25′ H x 15′ W x 12′ D

Location: Vancouver, Canada

Photo by Thom Quine


Building that looks like upside-down White House, Batumi.JPG

By Keizers (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

 Building that looks like upside-down. White House, Batumi

Date: 22 November 2012, 11:41:50

Source: Own work

Note: Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia.

Source: “Batumi” — Wikipedia 

Wisconsin Dells – Top Secret.jpg

By Leprechauns at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

An upside down white house ‘Top Secret’ in Wisconsin Dells, WI

Date: 2007; 17 January 2008 (original upload date)

Source: Own work: self-made
Transferred from en.wikipedia by SreeBot

If you would like to see more upside-down houses, has a great online article about them called “Flip This Home! 10 Unbelievable Upside Down Houses”.


2 thoughts on “Fun Verticality

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