A Romantic Moment on The Great Wall of China

by Mr. Sheehy


I’ve been browsing photos over lunch today, and things like this amaze me. Yes, I’d like to visit the Great Wall (if given a free plane ticket and boarding), but more than that, I want to visit it right there – the moment this picture was taken.

It seems to me that great photography leads to romantic notions of places – and I don’t think that’s all bad. I have a buddy from college who obsessed about New England and all it’s reputation: the wildlife, the trees, the lifestyle, the covered bridges; and I imagine he built the notions by mixing images from calendar photography, magazines, and romantic comedies with his understanding of the Revolutionary War and American literature.

He wanted to know a particular New England, and when he came, ironically enough, he found that New England, sort of. He visitited a log cabin, crossed a covered bridge, saw a moose , walked onto a tall ship, and picked apples. I laughed about the “almost” nature of his experiences (the moose was dead, the bridge was built in the late 1960s, the boat, Old Ironsides, is a docked historical site), but he enjoyed it because he realized the photo-moments weren’t to be recaptured.

Instead, he had to recreate the photo as best as he could, like it for what it was, and consider it his mini-experience of an ideal moment. So when I get that plane ticket to the Great Wall, this photo will influence why I am excited to go and will form my expectation; but when I get there I should be ready to be content with my own (likely lesser) version of this romantic moment.

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Choir on The Great Wall of China

Originally uploaded by North Sullivan.

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