2003, 55 Minutes
Wildness examines the legacy of Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis, two of Australia’s greatest wilderness photographers.
Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis were two of Australia's greatest wilderness photographers. Their work became synonymous with campaigns to protect Tasmania's natural heritage. From the 1950s to the 1980s, Olegas and then Peter used photography to galvanise public opinion as the Hydro Electric Commission cut swathes through the wilderness in the name of progress.
Olegas is renowned for his slide presentations which, over 20 years, brought ever-increasing attention to the island's unique landscape. In particular, he captured on film the pink quartz beach and tea-coloured water of Lake Pedder before it was drowned by a fiercely protested hydro-electric scheme.
Ten years later, Peter's magnificent photographs of the Franklin River were used to spearhead the successful national campaign to save it from a similar fate. His photograph of the Franklin’s Rock Island Bend became a national icon, establishing him as one of the country’s most influential photographers.
Olegas and Peter shared many things, including a bond that was more like that of father and son. Both migrated to Tasmania from Baltic Europe. And both died alone doing what they loved - photographing the wild. They left behind a legacy of extraordinary images - contributing not only to their art but to an emerging environmental consciousness in Australia. Their philosophy was simple and remarkably effective - if people could see the beauty of Australia's wild places then they might be moved to protect them. They might also be encouraged to understand the true value of the world around them.
Wildness brings over 300 Truchanas and Dombrovskis photographs together with archival film and stunning contemporary footage, in an epic story of two men whose passion for nature became a crusade to save an environment under threat.
"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 Dombrovskis.
A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Big and Little Films. Developed with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission. Produced with the assistance of Film Victoria, Screen Tasmania and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Director: Scott Millwood
Running Time: 55 Minutes