Inside Tracks: Robyn Davidson's Solo Journey Across the Outback

Rick Smolen. Sterling, $45 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4549-1294-1
In 1977 Robyn Davidson set off to cross the desolate 1,700 miles of the Australian outback accompanied by only four camels and her dog Diggity. Photographer Smolen (A Day in the Life of America) joined Davidson all various points of her journey to document the excursion. Nearly three decades later, the story of this trip is now premise of a major motion picture. Here, Smolen's photographs are merged with Davidson's commentary as well as storyboards from the film to tell two stories: what really happened and how it translates to the big screen. It's a remarkable approach to an incredible story, and Smolen does a terrific job of storytelling with a minimum amount of text. Readers first meet Davidson in Alice Springs, where she began her journey, and accompany her throughout. Smolen's magnificent images range from aerial shots of Davidson and her camels dwarfed by the world's oldest rock that dates back millions of years, to photojournalistic day-to-day activities such as interacting with the camels and an intimate shot of a grief-stricken Davidson contemplating the accidental poisoning of Diggety, her beloved companion. The storyboarded section of the book rounds out Davidson's journey and gives readers insight into the Hollywood version as well as a deeper appreciation for Smolen and Davidson's efforts. Truly a remarkable story fit for a coffee table. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
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