DUBAI // A local window cleaning professional has spoken for the first time about how he took part in a National Geographic photo shoot at the top of the Burj Khalifa.
By day, Johnny Salvador is the operations manager for Grako, the company contracted to clean the outside of the world’s tallest building.
But on March 18, he and his colleague, Mike Flamson, helped famed National Geographic Society photographer Joe McNally scale the Burj and then posed for the camera while dangling from its spire.
“At the time of filming you’re quite blase about the whole thing as I am there doing my job the same way I would with anyone else,” Mr Salvador said. “It’s nice to show my mates at home so they see what I get up to. I’m just proud to go up the tallest building in the world and happy Grako gives me the opportunity to do it.”
In a behind-the-scenes video published on McNally's YouTube channel last week, the National Geographic photographer explained he didn't want to just climb to the top and shoot the view.
“You want a person in that frame, you want to have a reference point – you want to sense some humanity in the midst of this giant structure,” said the 61-year-old American. “And also, you want to celebrate this very unique skill that these guys have. ”
McNally and Mr Salvador were both suspended outside a bucket-like structure at the tip of the spire – 828 metres in the air.
“For a 60-year-old, hats off to him,” said Mr Salvador. “We called him afterwards Joe ‘the Iceman’ McNally. He didn’t grumble once and he held his own the whole way up,” Mr Salvador said.
Mr Salvador also worked with Alain “Spider-Man” Robert, the French climber famed for scaling towers without any ropes or assistance.