I've always believed that to really get behind the story and show what it's like to be there, you need to share in something of what the athlete or participant is going through. Whilst I'd never attest to experiencing anything like the utter fatigue and exhaustion that James went through in the Gobi, I got a taste of things during the 100+hrs I was out there beneath the vast, deep blue sky amidst the canyons, dunes and desolate plains. Constantly pushing to find the shot, running ahead of the check point and hiding beneath shrubs to avoid the runner noticing me and snatching sleep on tarpaulin floors amidst the fumes of chinese cigarettes and noisy chatter all took their toll.
On the flight out of the desert I was empty, both mentally and physically. I was in a pensive mood and penned much of the words that feature in the Red Bulletin feature from 30,000ft. I figured whilst it was still raw I should put it on paper. Lying in a deep bath in a Beijing airport hotel the night before flying home, dazed, confused and hungry I daren't look at the thousands of images busy backing up to my macbook. I knew I needed to give it time before I went back to looking at them; truth be told it took me over a week before I opened them up.
7 months and I can still feel the biting cold in my fingers and the dust caked all over me. The Gobi, like other great deserts I've been fortunate enough to shoot and run amongst, leave their mark on you.