June 10, 2004

Tasmania: wilderness#4

Below is a classic Australian photo that helped to save a wild river in Tasmania:

Peter Dombrovski, Rock Island Bend

As Tim Bonyhady says:

"Dombrovskis' most famous photograph, Rock Island Bend, was the iconic image of the campaign to stop Tasmania's Hydro-Electric Commission damming the Franklin River. When it appeared as a full-page advertisement in the Herald just before the 1983 federal election, the caption was "Would you vote for a party that would destroy this?"

The Franklin River was saved with federal intervention.This was not just a political photo. it was also a good photo. As Tim says:

"He was the finest landscape photographer in Tasmania, a master of his large format camera which recorded the environment in remarkable detail. The others typically were bushwalker photographers short on skill and experience.The work of the bushwalker photographers was often poorly composed, short of detail, devoid of any particular stamp of authority or individuality. Dombrovskis's photographs were superbly composed, wonderfully detailed and always immediately identifiable as his. They were, at simplest, much more beautiful - providing much stronger reason to support the campaign and vote on that basis at the federal election."

Tim then mentions what junk for code has noted. There are no good photographs being produced of the clear felling of Tasmania's old growth forests:

"One of the oddest features of the campaign to safeguard the Styx is the poverty of the photographs that have gained the greatest dissemination. It is as if the Wilderness Society and the Greens senator Bob Brown, who have been central to the campaign, have forgotten the lessons of the Franklin: that it takes the best photographers to produce images that galvanise the public. Instead they have relied on their own, generally very ordinary photographs. They have made no attempt to find a new Dombrovskis."

Some seem to be capturing the beauty of wilderness rather than the destruction of the forests.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at June 10, 2004 05:33 PM | TrackBack

Gary I have decided to bring my trusty 4x5 camera
to Tasmania in Nov. Please point it and the old fart behind it in the direction of wilderness damage and I will do my best for your cause
Yours John Dix,Birr, Co.Offaly Ireland

Posted by: John Dix on July 29, 2004 10:05 PM

Can anyone help me out with buying a poster of rock island bend? I saw it once in the VC at CRadle Mountain and have been chasing it ever since, unable to find it elsewhere or even there now. I'd really appreciate if anyone knew how i could get hold of it - cheers

Posted by: sarah ellis on June 15, 2005 04:07 PM

I too would like to purchase not only the rock bend poster but other P Dombrovski prints for my lounge room. Can anyone help me?

Posted by: johann on August 27, 2005 06:02 PM
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