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Man climbs to the top of Christ the Redeemer statue, takes selfie

"As I popped my head out of the hole in Jesus' crown, I was in total and utter awe as my eyes met with a vast panorama that quite literally took my breath away," Thompson said.
By Aileen Graef Follow @AileenGraef Contact the Author   |   June 2, 2014 at 9:55 AM
RIO DE JANEIRO, June 2 (UPI) -- Photographer Lee Thompson was in Brazil to document the upcoming World Cup when he decided to take a video of himself climbing to the top of the Christ the Redeemer statue in order to take a selfie.

The statue has been under repair since lightning storms damaged it in January, and Thompson decided to take advantage of the opportunity. Writing about his experience on the website Flashpack, Thompson shared his journey climbing up the statue.

Along with two of the workers, Thompson and his colleague, Oliver Harvey, climbed through the inside of the statue using Go Pro cameras. Climbing up through the shoulder and then through the head, Thompson exited through a small hatch in the middle of the statue's crown. Once he stood atop the statue, he did what anyone would naturally do -- he took a selfie.

"As I popped my head out of the hole in Jesus' crown, I was in total and utter awe as my eyes met with a vast panorama that quite literally took my breath away. Talk about a religious experience! I've never been afraid of heights or tight spaces, but experiencing acrophobia, claustrophobia and profound awe at the same time was something truly remarkable," he said of the experience.

He said that he is not usually the subject of his photographs, but selfies are necessary for special occasions.

"To some, taking pictures of yourself is considered vain, but this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity taught me that the selfie is a powerful medium through which we can share our perspectives, inspirations and personal stories with the world at large. It's not about funny mugshots with scenic backdrops or daredevil stunts. It's a way to mark the moment and say, 'I was here.'"

Christ the Redeemer statue is 100 feet tall and sits 2,000 feet above the city of Rio de Janeiro on Corcovado Hill.

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