Over many years and many journeys, Daniel Schwartz has patiently and meticulously photographed one of mankind’s supreme monuments – the Great Wall of China. Schwartz was the first foreigner ever to be allowed such privileged access to the Wall.
From the border of North Korea he travelled westward through mountains and deserts and frozen grasslands to the borders of Central Asia. He said at the time: ‘I wanted to find out where the boundaries of the impossible lay and how close I could get to them.’ Recently, China’s new policy of openness encouraged him to revisit the Wall and to photograph areas that had been closed even to him on previous journeys.
To place the photographs in context, the Chinese historian Luo Zhewen, who has dedicated his life to the study of the Great Wall, has written an essential brief history. Also included is Jorge Luis Borges’s meditation ‘The Wall and the Books’ and an extract from Franz Kafka’s short story The Great Wall of China.
This extraordinary project is at once a beautiful photographic essay, an intriguing conceptual art project, and a personal odyssey. Daniel Schwartz, with his profound and haunting vision of the Great Wall, has made not only a unique document but a book that is a work of art in itself.