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Robyn Davidson (Hamelin Pool, Indian Ocean, Western Australia)

1977 (printed 2014)
Rick Smolan

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 50.3 cm x 61.1 cm, image: 37.3 cm x 56.0 cm)
Image not available (NC)

Robyn Davidson (b. 1950), writer, attended a Brisbane boarding school before moving to Sydney, where she lived a loosely Bohemian lifestyle. In the mid-1970s she went to Alice Springs. There, she trained four camels (Dookie, Bub, Zeleika and Goliath) for a trek through the desert to Shark Bay in Western Australia. She set off from Alice Springs and reached the end of her journey – over 2700 kilometres away – nine months later. On the way, she had to shoot her beloved dog Diggity. Intermittently, she was joined by photographer Rick Smolan, who found her fascinating. During her trek he drove out to meet her three times, taking photographs and eventually irritating her. His pictures of the journey were published in National Geographic in 1978, along with an article written by Davidson. On the strength of the popularity of the article, she wrote an account of her journey, Tracks (1980), which won multiple awards, was translated into twenty languages, and made into a film released in 2013. In Tracks, Davidson writes: 'the question I'm most commonly asked is "Why?" A more pertinent question might be, why is it that more people don't attempt to escape the limitations imposed upon them?'

Purchased 2014

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Artist and subject

Rick Smolan (age 28 in 1977)

Robyn Davidson (age 27 in 1977)

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