September 3 - 9, 2017: Issue 328
Journeys into the Wild:
The Photography of Peter Dombrovskis
Morning mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River, Tasmania, late 1980 or early 1981
Peter Dombrovskis (1945–1996), Morning mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River, Tasmania, late 1980 or early 1981, nla.obj-148634972
'When you go out there, you don't get away from it all. You get back to
it all. You come home to what's important. You come home to yourself.'
–Peter DombrovskisHaving been born and grown taller in Tasmania being amongst some of the most beautiful wilderness in the world was not something ever taken for granted - being in such a place instilled the sanctity of the great outdoors for life. With parents who had decided early on to support and cultivate Artists, the family home was filled with paintings of Tasmanian landscapes and photographs from some of the early Tasmanian photographers and more contemporary ones alike Peter Dombrovskis, in fact Mr. Dombrovskis' works were a favourite.
Visiting or revisiting places he has captured, in broad landscapes filled with moody weather reflecting colours, or peering closer at what lives at our feet, the tiny universe, placed a love of this place and a love of this man's works in our hearts.
We grew up hearing about the fight for the Gordon River - and then went there - contrasting the raw power there with the barren exposed hills of Queenstown. We tramped over Cradle Mountain as it began to snow. Waded those creeks in our gumboots, marvelled at the coils of multi-coloured kelp gathering on the shores.
This week a beautiful new celebration of Peter Dombrovskis work landed on the Pittwater Online News desk; Journeys into the Wild: The Photography of Peter Dombrovskis , with an Introduction and commentary by Bob Brown, is the National Library of Australia's tribute to Spring and the great works of a great photographer.
The National Library has over 3,000 Dombrovskis transparencies in its collection, acquiring the archives so future Australians may enjoy his work.
Peter Dombrovskis (2 March 1945 – 28 March 1996) was an Australian photographer, known for his Tasmanian scenes. In 2003 he was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame, the first Australian photographer to reach this milestone.
He was born in 1945 in a refugee camp in Wiesbaden, Germany of Latvian parents; together with his mother, migrated to Australia in 1950, and settled in Fern Tree, a suburb of Hobart. The protégé of noted wildlife photographer and activist Olegas Truchanas, his photographs of the Tasmanian Wilderness—particularly his own annual Tasmanian Wilderness Calendar and the Wilderness Calendar produced by the Tasmanian Wilderness Society—brought images of once remote and inaccessible areas of the State into the public realm. Dombrovskis founded West Wind Press in 1977 and later went on to print calendars entirely of his own work featuring incisive commentary from pre-eminent environmental professionals.
His most famous photograph is Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River, which some commentators believe played a part in the victory for Bob Hawke in the 1983 federal election. The photograph portrayed a section of the Franklin River which was to be submerged by the proposed Franklin Dam and spearheaded the visual appeal of the Franklin River in the contentious 'No Dams' campaign of 1982. Dombrovskis later co-authored with Bob Brown an example of his skill in photographing the Gordon River and the Franklin River in his 1983 book, Wild Rivers.
On 28 March 1996, Mr. Dombrovskis died of a heart attack while photographing near Mount Hayes in the Western Arthurs mountain range of South West Tasmania.
His works are represented at the National Gallery of Victoria, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Australian Heritage Commission and in private collections.
If you haven't been to Tasmania, or have a Tasmanian friend in need of a gift soon, get them this book - better still, get it for yourself. These are Visions for the ages.
Peter Dombrovskis (1945–1996), Cushion plants, Mount Anne, southwest Tasmania, 1984, nla.obj-149014660
Journeys into the Wild: The Photography of Peter DombrovskisIntroduction and commentary by Bob Brown
While many photographers experiment with many different genres and subjects throughout their careers, Peter Dombrovskis remained faithful to his first love of wilderness photography.
Dombrovskis' images of the Tasmanian wilderness were instrumental in changing the way Australians think about their environment. In 2009, the Library acquired his archive of over 3,000 transparencies from his widow Liz Dombrovskis, who wished for the collection to go to a major cultural institution where it would be preserved and made accessible for future generations.
We are proud to present the first major exhibition of his life's work in Australia, featuring over 70 of his most powerful, unique and reflective images.
Dombrovskis: Journeys into the Wild opens on Thursday 21 September.
Join the Friends for a special exhibition preview on Tuesday 19 September, with an introductory lecture by former Australian Greens leader Dr Bob Brown.
"Journeys into the Wild" is a poetic escape to a fragile and breathtaking wilderness, with celebrated photographer Peter Dombrovskis as our guide. In 2003, Dombrovskis was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame, the first Australian and one of only 77 people to be accorded this honour worldwide.
Bob Brown and Peter Dombrovskis forged their friendship in the battle to save the Gordon and Franklin rivers. During the campaign, Peter would take one of the most famous photographs in Australian history, "Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River". In this book, Brown introduces Dombrovskis' work and provides commentary on some of his favourite images, reproduced here in full colour with stunning clarity.
From sweeping vistas of Tasmania to close-ups of a leaf's skeleton or a spider's web, these photographs are at once a paean to the wild and a plea to conserve it for future generations.
Author: Introduction and commentary by Brown, Bob
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 01 September 2017
Bind Format: Hardback
Publisher's Status: Active
Availability: This item is in stock and will be dispatched immediately. Purchase online here
FRIENDS EXHIBITION PREVIEW
DOMBROVSKIS: JOURNEYS INTO THE WILD SPECIAL EVENT
When: 19 September 2017, 6pm-8pm
Where Exhibition Gallery, Theatre, Ground floor
$20 Friends/$25 non-members, includes refreshments, bookings essential
Be among the first to see the National Library of Australia’s new exhibition Dombrovskis: Journeys into the Wild, as the Friends host an exclusive preview with an introductory lecture by former Australian Greens leader Dr Bob Brown and exhibition curator Matthew Jones.
Peter Dombrovskis was one of the world’s foremost wilderness photographers. His powerful, reflective and deeply personal images of the unique Tasmania wilderness had a lasting impact, changing the way Australians think about their environment. The National Library has over 3,000 Dombrovskis transparencies in its collection, and has printed 70 of the best for a special exhibition in tribute to this remarkable man, the most complete survey of his work to date in Australia.
Exhibition: Dombrovskis: Journeys into the Wild
When: 21 September 2017 to 30 January 2018, 10.00am-5.00pm
Where: Exhibition Gallery, Ground floor
free - No booking required
Peter Dombrovskis was one of the world's foremost wilderness photographers. His powerful, reflective and deeply personal images of the unique Tasmanian wilderness had a lasting impact, changing the way Australians think about their environment. The Library has over 3,000 Dombrovskis transparencies, and has printed 70 of the best for this exhibition, the most complete survey of his work to date in Australia.
Rainforest fungi, Glen Calder, Franklin River, Tasmania, 1979Peter Dombrovskis (1945–1996), Rainforest fungi, Glen Calder, Franklin River, Tasmania, 1979, nla.obj-148637829
Morning light on Little Horn, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania, 1995Peter Dombrovskis (1945–1996), Morning light on Little Horn, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania, 1995, nla.obj-148942128