Meet the student photographer capturing Edinburgh like you’ve never seen it before
‘Long story short, we ended up rushing down stairs with security close behind, and running as fast as we could. The adrenaline was just mad.’
From London to Hong Kong, and from Paris to the Highlands, an Edinburgh student, working under the alias ‘Jin’, spends his time scaling buildings around the world to take photos for Instagram.
Despite getting his first camera just two years ago, he has already amassed over 27,000 followers on his Instagram @sunxjin and has climbed some of the tallest buildings in the country.
Aiming to showcase an alternative take on the city, Jin manages to capture Edinburgh, literally, like you’ve never seen it before. So, we spoke to the student photographer to find out how it all began:
What was it that kicked off your interest in photography? How did this all begin?
“My interest in photography stemmed from Instagram. I started off playing around on Instagram during my first year of uni, just taking pictures on my phone of everyday things that caught my eye.
“My following on Instagram actually came before my first camera, just showing that gear isn’t the most important thing: the best camera is the one you have on you. Eventually though, I think I reached the limits of what I could do with my phone and two years ago, I decided to pick up my first proper camera. I’ve fallen in love with learning how to use that camera, and I’m still learning how to use that clicky button a bit better everyday.”
What’s your favourite photograph that you’ve taken?
“My favourite photograph? It’ll change every time you ask me, but I’m very drawn to a particular photo from one of my first Edinburgh rooftop adventures. Just as I got to the top, this flock of birds came flying by and I managed to swing my camera out just in time. The shot is just so quintessentially Edinburgh, and reminds me to keep getting out there and making moments.”
As an Edi-based photographer, do you have a favourite thing to photograph in the city?
“If you scroll through my Instagram feed, you’d definitely think it’s chimneys! I do love exploring cities: urban photography has given me so many special moments that I would never otherwise have experienced. And I do love showing a different side to Edinburgh.
“However, my favourite things to shoot are portraits and street photography; it gives me a chance to connect with real people to tell a story together. I’m best known for rooftops and I know that’s what my followers are most interested in, but I have lots of other stuff that I do for myself.”
What’s the highest building you’ve climbed for a photo?
“The thing with Edinburgh is that no matter how high up you go, you’re never actually that high up! My highest experiences must be on my travels, either in London or Hong Kong. The 151 meter Baltimore Tower in Canary Wharf was 45 flights of pure agony on the thighs but once I conquered the staircase, it was such a glorious view of London waking up. I’ve got big things (literally) planned this summer.”
With a habit of scaling buildings you must have had some scary experiences?
“In terms of urban photographers, I’d say I’m one of safer ones: I go up rooftops to get the best shot I can and nothing else. I’m never up there to see if I can dangle from the edge with one arm or anything like that, so I can’t recount any near-misses. So the scariest experiences I’ve had aren’t safety-related but I’ve had plenty of close encounters with security.
“One that’ll always stay with me is this one building next to Tottenham Court Road station. The building was in development at the time and was a real hotspot in the London scene, and my friend and I gave it a go. Long story short, we ended up rushing down stairs with security close behind, and running as fast as we could into the streets of Central London. The adrenaline was just mad.”