Dombrovskis: Journeys Into the Wild @ NLA

20 September 2017

At the National Library of Australia, former Senator  Bob Brown opened a magnificent exhibition of a selection of photographs by Peter Dombrovskis called Journeys into the Wild. As one of our greatest wilderness photographers, he follows in the steps of his friend and mentor Olegas Truchanas capturing images, trudging the backblocks of the treasured Tasmanian wilderness and leaving a legacy that is beyond compare that reminds us all of the need to protect and preserve the wilderness.

Every picture is perfect.

 Featured is Dombrovskis’  Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend, an image that shows a section of the Franklin River that became a part of the success of the 1982 No Dams campaign.

For Bob Brown the exhibition brings back memories of when he first met Dombrovskis in the late 70’s. Brown as the newly appointed Director of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society realised the need to have images to educate and involve Australians in the fight to stop the development of the Gordon below Franklin dam site. And what a formidable campaign that was.

 Dombrovskis spent years rafting solo along the Franklin, capturing images while enduring the vicissitudes of that wilderness weather, lugging his equipment, trudging the backblocks and camping under difficult circumstances. When Brown saw the iconic image Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend in the 80’s he knew it was just what the campaign needed.  

 But this exhibition is so much more as 70 of the 3000 transparencies acquired by the library in 2009 have been curated to show just how brilliant he was at capturing the wilderness and why he deserved his induction into the International Photography Hall of Fame.

Sadly Dombrovskis died in 1996 at just 51 years of age. His brilliance, meticulous attention to detail and his formidable contribution to documenting the wonders of the environment he loved is available to us all in this small part of his archive held by the National Library of Australia. A campaigner who made us take notice with transparencies that endure, and a passion to capture them.