Book Review: Simply Peter Dombrovskis

My third book review for 2015 is Simply Peter Dombrovskis. If you are a landscape or Nature photographer and you are not familiar with the work of Peter Dombrovskis you should take some time out of your day at your first opportunity and research his work. Peter is undoubtedly Tasmania’s most well known and most celebrated landscape photographer and is regarded by many (myself included) as an icon of Australian photography. He came to fame and prominence in 1982-1983 when one of his photographs ‘Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend‘ (undoubtedly his most recognisable and celebrated photograph) was used as the lead image in the campaign that successfully prevented the damning of the Franklin River.RockIslandBendMorning Mist, Rock Island Bend – Peter Dombrovskis

Peter Dombrovskis was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1945 of Latvian parents. He emigrated to Australia in 1950 with his mother Adele and started taking photographs in the 1960’s. He was strongly influenced by Lithuanian-Australian pioneer, conservationist and photographer Olegas Truchanas, who became a source of inspiration. He was equally influenced by landscape photographers of mid-century America such as Ansel Adams, Edward and Brett Weston and Eliot Porter and glimpses of these photographers styles can be seen in Peter’s own imagery. Sadly Peter passed away in 1996 while photographing in the Western Arthur Range in southwest Tasmania and this new book is in many ways a retrospective of his finest images. From the inside dust jacket:

This rare book. an exhibition of photographs by Peter Dombrovskis. The presence of sixty of his unique images, beautifully reproduced in full color on premium grade Real Art paper manufacturer from sustainable plantation forests, totally chlorine free.simplyPeter photographed in large format film and the quality of his images is superbly reproduced throughout this new book. The eye takes great pleasure in the reproduction of even the finest details in each photograph. Simply Peter Dombrovskis is much more than just a collection of Peter’s best work however; it is also a wonderful visual insight into the Tasmanian landscape and wilderness. If you have been fortunate to travel and photograph in Tasmania you will know exactly what I mean. If you have not yet photographed in Tasmania then do yourself a favour and bump this spectacular location up your to do list (I will be offering a Tasmania workshop in the near future).

If I had to gripe about any aspect of Simply Peter Dombrovskis it would be the shelf price. At $190 Australian dollars this is not an inexpensive book to purchase. However, the quality of the reproductions is first rate and this is in many ways the definitive collection of images from the significant body of work Peter amassed during his lifetime. The book has been produced without compromising quality and is superbly presented. I suspect the imagery will be enjoyed long after the price is forgotten.

Presentation: Simply Peter Dombrovskis is hardbound in black linen with a smart, clean dust jacket that is simple and elegant. The paper is a medium to heavy weight semi-gloss lustre that oozes quality. Although I personally prefer art papers to lustre papers the choice of paper in Simply Peter Dombrovskis is well chosen and appropriate for the imagery. Most of the included photographs are printed with a white paper border to help frame and contain the image and keep the eye from running off the page. There are a few full bleed images included and I felt these detracted from the rest of the presentation. Each photograph is elegantly titled at the bottom of the page along with the location of where the photograph was taken. There is an elegance to the presentation of the images in this book that resonants with me and I very much enjoyed the overall presentation.

Print Quality: The 2014 Canon APPA Gold awards book I reviewed earlier this year is the gold standard in print quality that surpasses anything I have yet seen from an offset printer. Simply Peter Dombrovskis is almost on a par, with deep rich colours that are the closest you are likely to get to the original prints. The quality of the printing is superb and does full justice to the photographs. Just as an aside: If you are visiting Tasmania, be sure to stop into the Wilderness Gallery at Cradle Mountain where prints of Peter’s work are on display in a retrospective exhibition.

Conclusion: Simply Peter Dombrovskis  is a solid four star presentation of some of Peter’s best photography and I recommend that you strongly consider adding this book to your photographic library.  **** You should own this book and consider it an important part of your photography library.

Footnote: Simply Peter Dombrovskis is already out sold out of its initial print run making this book a very noteworthy addition to any collector’s library if you are able to obtain one.

My personal thanks to Gail for the very kind and thoughtful gift of this book.

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