Bence Bakonyi
June 26, 2015

A single postcard image inspired Hungarian photographer Bence Bakonyi to make the 2,000 mile train trip to Dunhuang, China from Budapest. His final destination? The very edge of Asia's largest desert and long-gone checkpoint for the ancient Silk Road, The Gobi. He explains in an interview with Mashable: "When I was in Shanghai, I saw a postcasrd of the Gobi Desert in the post office. The images were incredible." 

The photograph timed his one-week visit with a Chinese holiday, making for the perfect time to observe tourists interact with the desert destination. More words on the task from the photographer:

"Through the photographs' particular viewpoint, I attempt to represent the spirit of the group. Therefore my focus is not on the individual, but on the community: we see it moving in unity, the trace of its path, and thus the process through which this unified mass of people discovers the unknown. As the protagonists of the photographs taken in Dunhuang are tourists, the landscape was just as alien and fascinating for them as it was for me when I documented it."

Bakonyi's series, "Cognition," features magnificent hills of sand with tourist milling about and exploring the foreign landscape. Taking in the photos, it serves a great reminder of just how small we are in the midst of our natural wonders. See for yourself:

Bence Bakonyi

Bence Bakonyi

Bence Bakonyi

Bence Bakonyi

Bence Bakonyi

For more of Bakonyi's work, head to his website

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.

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