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Star Trails and Moonrise, Precipitous BluffThe Irenabyss Gallery is the website of Tasmanian Landscape Photographer Matt Brain and show cases images from around Tasmania. The Irenabyss on the Franklin River was named by Bob Brown, being the 'chasm of peace' where the flows smoothly between high rock banks.

Fine Art Prints can be viewed and purchased from the Fine Art Print Gallery.

The images on these pages have been taken with many different cameras over a long period of time. Some of the places are not protected and a few no longer exist due to the ongoing destructive exploitation of Tasmania's beautiful wilderness. Further down this page you can view some of the efforts made to save some of these wild places.

Many different cameras and media have been used to record these images over about 20 years. In only rough order these include:

  • Three Konica Autoreflex Bodies
  • Linhof Technika IV 4x5 inch Large Format Camera
  • Canon EOS 350D 8 megapixel Digital SLR
  • Pentax 67 Medium Format Camera
  • Canon EOS 5D 13.1 megapixel Digital SLR
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II 21 megapixel Digital SLR

  • Tasmania though small contains some of the most remote wilderness in the world. This is due to several varieties of vegetation along with steep and intersected terrain that can impede progress. Some walking groups have been forced to travel only one or two kilometers in a gruelling day bashing, crawling and twisting their bodies and packs through this growth. The pace is no faster when groups have attempted hacking the scrub with machetes as it is usually a mixture of thick branches entwined with the wire like baurea.

    This near impenetrable scrub has helped protect the wilderness up until bull dozers became commonly available. The islands small size, poignant beauty and rich resources have led to rather polar views on the environment. It is impossible not to have an opinion on how the resources should be managed, when everyday the media reports conflict between those who wish to further exploit the land and those wanting to preserve what is left. Conservationists feel the loss of those places already destroyed. Those employed in industries such as forestry face doubt and uncertainty if change were allowed; and governments have been driven away from responsible stewardship by powerful bodies.

    Some of the places photographed are still here for others to enjoy due to the extraordinary effort, will and courage of past activists who have stood in the path of laws and machines to save places they have loved. Others are here because of powerful photographs taken to show the rest of the world what is at stake. Photographers like the late Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis (1) became legends that inspire current photographers. They rank as some of the best landscape photographers ever, but their rank is also driven by what they acheived, showed and ultimately saved with their images.

    Foremost now in the fight to save these places is The Wilderness Society. Born in the lost battle to save Lake Pedder, The Wilderness Society found its footing and true voice in the desperate days that divided the state when the Government, blind to any voice other than the Hydro Electric Commission planned to dam the Franklin river. The Wilderness Society YouTube site contains some fantastic video from the Campaign to stop the Franklin River Dam. Just seeing the bulldozer next to Butler Island in the second part upsets me, even though it is all over. For anyone who loves Tasmania, these are a must see - the destruction of Tasmanian Wilderness continues today.



    Also on The Wilderness Society YouTube site is this movie of Peter Dombrovskis (2) photographing the Gordon Splits. The images that this legendary photographer captured of the Splits that appeared in the book 'Wild Rivers' are stunning. It also contains footage of him setting up his Linhof Master Technika 4x5 inch large format camera. He uses a reflex finder to view the ground glass, I tried one of these on mine but eventually returned to using a dark-cloth to view the ground glass, seeing everything upside down was something I had become used to.




    A young Bob Brown on the Franklin The National Film & Sound Archive at www.australianscreen.com.au also has 3 clips from the movie 'The Franklin Wild River' showing a young Bob Brown in a duckie on the Franklin and speaking about the river.

    The destruction and exploitation of Tasmania's unique wild places continues at a rate greater than in the past. The threat is veiled now because it is happening in a piece-meal fashion across multiple areas, driven by an aggressive forestry industry striving to convert as much state forest as it can to plantation whilst political conditions are favourable to it. This is cleverly done, starting at the outermost regions sometimes right up to the boundary of world heritage listed national parks, so that areas further back loose value because they have been logged around. The Gorvernment body responsible for the industry has posted financial losses making the tax payers foot the bill for the loss of their high conservation value forests with their wide ranging biodiversity. Meanwhilst the woodchip companies continue to post profits.

    In 2006 to highlight these threatened forests across the state, Penguin asked Tasmanian wilderness photographers to collect images of unprotected areas. The result was the book Endangered Tasmania and the birth of a new group Nature Photographers of Tasmania, who have since collaborated on other projects, most notably the recently released book Wild Forests. The lions share of the work behind this book, was done by Rob Blakers, one of Tasmania's great landscape photographers. I produced a short slide show for the The Launceston Walking Club using my own and some of Rob's images from the work that was collected for Endangered Tasmania. This was shown at the clubs 'Do you Know Tasmania' slide show in November 2006 and can now be seen at the club's youTube link.


    Although I had been bushwalking for several years, I really got serious about it when I joined the The Launceston Walking Club when I was 15. The club has a long history of exploring the more remote and unaccesable parts of Tasmania as well as projects such as the building of The Scott - Kilvert Memorial Hut at Lake Rodway and other working bee's and supporting Search and Rescue operations. Past members such as the late Kieth Lancaster undertook what were really pioneering trips in the 1950's with heavy gear often into regions that were not well mapped. I would highly recommend joining the club to anyone based in Launceston even if only for a short period as you will meet great people and see beautiful places that are off the radar to most visitors to Tasmania.

    I do not currently do many 'official' club trips as my work hours usually conflict with trip times, however I maintain my membership and many of the extended walks I do such as The Provis Hills and The Princess Range are with people who I first met in the walking club. These were also shown in the 2006 'Do You Know Tasmania'. I am a major contributor to the ongoing production of 'Do You Know Tasmania' slide shows that have run since the 1950's with the philosophy of showing Tasmania's special places to a wider audience. I am currently working on several segments for the 2009 show including the production of two DVD's of digitised 16mm movies shot in the 1960's and 70's. These highly entertaining movies were produced the old way with film splices and a lot of work would have gone into them. They not only offer a historical perspective but are highly entertaining and include visits to places that even today are hard to get to.

    I hope you enjoy browsing my website and the images of Tasmania. If you are interested in purchasing prints or using an image in a publication, please email me

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