Robyn Davidson is a wanderer, and writer, who is acclaimed for her trek across Australia with nothing but her camels and dog companion.
Davidson intended for this journey to be a solo mission, however a coincidental discovery made by photographer Rick Smolan lead the journey to be bigger than imagined. Photographer Rick Smolan had suggested this story to National Geographic at the time, who then allowed Smolan to travel to Australia to follow Davidson and photograph and share the story of her trip.
The question was why would Davidson want to voluntarily embark on a near 2,000 mile trek on foot, alone? Smolan documented the journey from a perspective that would attempt to answer that question. At the same time, Davidson drilled at Smolan’s mental integrity by questioning why he felt the need to “make a product out of everything” and why he wasn’t able to allow himself to be present in the moment, beyond his camera and beyond his assignment. The relationship between photographer and subject in this case made for a more interesting story. As Davidson wanted to remain under the radar, and Smolan wanted to understand and document her journey from start to finish.
Through this assignment it seems that both Davidson and Smolan had learned a lot about themselves from a perspective on the outside. Smolan created a story through photos that allowed curious viewers all over the world to take the journey across Australia with Davidson; every triumph and forfeit we witnessed, making her success of a journey even more meaningful.