Photos: Traversing Australia with camels

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When Robyn and her caravan reached the Indian Ocean nine months and 2000 arduous miles later, the camels were thunderstruck at the sight of the ocean. They had never seen so much water. They would stop, turn to stare at it, leap sideways, look at one another with their noses all pointed and ridiculous, then stare at it again, then leap forward again. Bub went straight in for a swim. He had not yet learnt what caution was. © 2014 Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions

When Robyn and her caravan reached the Indian Ocean nine months and 2000 arduous miles later, the camels were thunderstruck at the sight of the ocean. They had never seen so much water. They would stop, turn to stare at it, leap sideways, look at one another with their noses all pointed and ridiculous, then stare at it again, then leap forward again. Bub went straight in for a swim. He had not yet learnt what caution was. © 2014 Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions

37 years ago, National Geographic – known for its iconic photographs of nature and its inhabitants – sent American photographer Rick Smolan on a strange and life-changing assignment.

His job was to document the travels of a 27-year-old Australian woman across the desolate outback there.

Robyn Davidson was accompanied only by four camels and a dog.

And Rick Smolan.

The 9-month, 1700-mile journey was captured in Davidson’s astonishing memoir called “Tracks,” now made into a major Hollywood film, and a new book by Smolan, “Inside Tracks”, which is the subject of a new show at The Annenberg Space for Photography here in Los Angeles.

Rick Smolan spoke to KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis about that journey.

He’s also speaking at Annenberg as part of the Iris Nights lecture series, and you can watch that live online starting at 7 pm PST.

And he has a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the new book.

Robyn Davidson.  © 2014 Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions
Robyn Davidson. © 2014 Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions
Rick Smolan and Robyn Davidson on the original journey.  © 2014 Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions
Rick Smolan and Robyn Davidson on the original journey. © 2014 Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions
- Robyn had been hot, irritable and tired when she arrived at the Docker River Aboriginal settlement, but she was greeted as a hero by a group of excited children who lifted her spirits with their cacophony of laughter. Word was out that she was coming and the entire population of this small outback settlement turned out to greet her.  © 2014 Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions
– Robyn had been hot, irritable and tired when she arrived at the Docker River Aboriginal settlement, but she was greeted as a hero by a group of excited children who lifted her spirits with their cacophony of laughter. Word was out that she was coming and the entire population of this small outback settlement turned out to greet her. © 2014 Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions