by Lewis Manalo
There’s nothing like a variation on the photo-a-day montage to trivialize a 4500 kilometer trek across the bulk of China. You have to respect Christoph Rehage’s journey, even if he didn’t make his goal of walking home to Germany; however, his photo montage boils down the hardship of walking across the Gobi desert into: “I grew a beard.”
Reducing the experience to one of casual speed diminishes the significance of the setting, undermines the significance of the trip. Places flash by unexamined. Supporting “characters” last a few frames, then drift away leaving no impact but some sign of affection lightly given to Rehage. I’m not trying to say that Rehage doesn’t appreciate China and the hardship of his journey, I’m saying that telling us about it in such a glib format makes his journey appear inconsequential.
And maybe it is. Does the proliferation of images make each image less important? The life photographed in vanity may be a life recorded, but sometimes the results appear even less examined than the life photographed only once.
The only documented photo of Billy the Kid helped spawn a legend:
Here’s the proliferation of technology making your world, and your life, a smaller, more trivial place: