East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


The Leica III

Both Fleming and Maillart carry a Leika camera.
Based on the writings of Peter Fleming, the camera has been identified as a Leica III (also known as a Leika F), a model produced between 1933 and 1939.

leica III

It has been argued that Maillart (that carried two cameras) had discovered the Leica – a very advanced camera, for the time – through her photographer friend (and possibli lover) Annemarie Schwarzenbach, and had later suggested the same model to Fleming1. Continue reading


The train leaves at midnight

And so it begins.
On the night of the 16th of February 1935, Peter Fleming and Ella “Kini” Maillart leave Peking in the company of the Smigunov, Stepan and Nina, two Russians that will act as guides and interpreters for a part of the trip.
Both Fleming and Maillart are journalists, and they both want to see what’s goin on in Sinkiang, or Chinese Turkistan, a region that was last visited almost ten years before by Owen Lattimore and has been sinking in civil war and chaos ever since.


Their plan is to travel from Peking to British India, following a southern route through Western China – the hardest route, but also, they hope, the least guarded.
The two journalists are officially going to Koku Nor to shoot some game. They are traveling light1, and they are not exactly friends.
Or are they? Continue reading