September 17, 2009
China: Wall Scholar
BY Joe Rubin
There is apparently no formula to becoming an expert on the Great Wall of China. David Spindler was a graduate student in Beijing back in the early 1990s, when, as a hobby, he began trekking the wall through its thousands of miles of nooks and crannies, and studying ancient documents to reveal its secrets.
In 2002, he left a lucrative career as a corporate consultant to become a full-time "wall scholar."
Recently, he teamed up with photographer Jonathan Ball and set out on a mission -- to take huge panoramic photos along the wall on the anniversaries and in the exact locations of historic Mongol and Manchu battles.
We spoke to him over web cam from Beijing on the eve of two exhibits of Spindler and Ball's work opening in San Francisco and New York.