2019 Darkroom Dinner Auction Items
Morning mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Tasmania 1980
pigment ink-jet print 51.5 x 66.0 cm
courtesy of the Estate of Peter Dombrovskis
estimate: $1500 – $2000
Peter Dombrovskis (1945–96) 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. His images changed the way Australians think about their environment by showing what would be lost through its destruction. Dombrovskis is an MGA Collection artist and is the subject of a major solo touring exhibition from the NLA currently on exhibit at MGA.
Dombrovskis’s images were used in environmental campaigns such as the ‘No Dams’ movement of 1982. This led to many of his photographic images becoming shorthand for environmental and conservation concerns in Australia. Seldom in the history of photography has there been as clear an example of visual culture bearing such political sway.
In 1982 the area that he photographed was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. This photograph of Rock Island Bend was integral to the successful campaign to prevent the Tasmanian Hydro Electric Commission damming the Gordon and Franklin rivers.
Dombrovskis’s photographs showed Australians what would be lost under the waters of a dam should the hydroelectric scheme go ahead, and many credit this image as helping to sway the Federal election in favour of Bob Hawke’s Australian Labor Party, which promised to save the Franklin River.