Guillaume Gilbert - Paris to Beijing

Life Force Magazine is a free, monthly, online, photo-led magazine which celebrates the art-form of the photo-essay. In their latest issue, they've got a nice photo-essay by Guillaume Gilbert, called "A Transcontinental Journey (Paris - Beijing)" covering a 45-day, 6,835-mile trip. You can see all of his photos from this epic journey on his Website here.

Guillaume Gilbert writes:

I cannot precisely recall when the idea took shape. Winter was settling upon Paris and thus on my life. The pendular routines, blinders burning temples, melancholy in disguise, I had to react, I chose to leave.

The plan was simple: catch the train at Gare de l’Est in Paris and reach Beijing in no hurry. Yet it was a blur: no intermediary stopovers had been planned in advance. Simply gliding along the century old tracks of a mythical railway, the Trans-Siberian, which becomes the Trans-Mongolian and ends its course in the Chinese capital. With my Leica slung over my shoulder, a load of black and white film made for granulation, books, a brown leather sheathed flask ready to be filled with a lot of colorless alcohol, a MP3 player and clothes that were warm, very warm: such was the plan.

The Trans-Siberian in winter offers much more leeway for those who take exception to defining their journey in advance. One can escape without risking the onerous ritual of booking train tickets and hotels and focus on the essential: reverie, a complete and resolute daydream.

Thus we join the dance of time zones. The days pass on incandescent snow. Inevitably, the bright light softly disperses before the dark hours when only the moon and the top of the trees still magnetize reality.

Getting on board the Trans-Siberian is to advance against the tide of our times. There we can thumb our noses at immediacy, at the abolition of distance and at the end of geography. It was the most exhilarating way that I have found to take repossession of an existence diluted by frenzy and restlessness.