EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY COLLECTION
The Great China Skywalk by Mark D Phillips
October 28, 1995
In 53 minutes, Jay skywalked 2,098 feet, with the Yangtze River over 1,300 feet below. Seeing Jay balanced on a wire, suspended between the magnificent cliffs of Qutang Gorge, was one of the most thrilling, spectacular, and terrifying events I have ever witnessed.
On October 27, 1995, the day before The Great China Skywalk, Jay Cochrane stood on a sliver of wire, a quarter of a mile high over the rushing water of the Yangtze River. I had never seen him perform, and didn’t know what to expect. As we watched, Jay moved his feet back and forth, getting the feel of its many strands. As he moved farther out the wire, the assembled crowd seemed to stop breathing. Everyone was absolutely still and quiet. Jay stopped and ever so slowly, walked backwards, toe to heel, back to earth. It was spellbinding.
These pictures would never be recreated. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience. And it was my job to bring these images to the world outside of China. As a photographer with the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse, I had photographed many events around the world. But this was different. This was from Fengjie, China, a twelve hour time difference from New York City and a serious step back in both infrastructure and press freedom.
Jay needed images and information about his skywalk to reach the world. In 1995, there were no smartphones. We had just started using Macintosh laptops and Nikon film scanners to transmit images. But there was no high speed Internet. These were the days of 28,800 modems over copper lines that at times would drop calls in the middle of sending the image. If that happened, you started over again.
Jay Cochrane, The Great China Skywalk: 13″ x 19″ framed and signed print by Mark D Phillips includes an 8″ x 10″ framed story print –
Domestic shipping included.