Natural Visions exhibition opens at QVMAG

Media release ⁠–⁠ Friday 23 October 2020

How far would you go for the perfect photo?

Probably not as far as pilot-photographer Jim England who is featured in QVMAG's latest exhibition Natural Visions: The Camera and Conservation in Tasmania at the Museum at Inveresk.

In 1972, in order to capture the magic of the Hanging Lake, near Federation Peak in Tasmania's Eastern Arthur Range, Jim took off in his light aircraft to explore the jagged mountain range from the sky. In awe of the view from beneath his aircraft Jim was compelled to capture the beauty of the moment with his large format camera… while still flying the plane.

After working out the precise angle of the perfect photo, Jim banked his aircraft and snagged the shot of a lifetime. In the following weeks, he flew another charter flight to Federation Peak, this time with another photographer, and Jim set up the same shot for him.

The photographer took the shot, went back to Melbourne where they were based, printed the photo and promptly won a photographic competition with it, all before Jim England had the chance to release it himself.

As part of Natural Visions: The Camera and Conservation in Tasmania, you'll find a reproduced version of Jim's hero shot Hanging Lake, Eastern Arthur Range in a feature-sized frame… allowing Jim to finally have the last laugh.

This is only one of the many adventurous tales behind the photography featured in the latest exhibition at QVMAG Inveresk.

The exhibition looks at the development of the Tasmanian conservation movement and how photography shaped campaigns to protect locations of natural beauty. Work showcased is largely from the QVMAG collection, held either as original prints, negatives, lantern slides, or in some cases, copy-negatives. Added to this are some images sourced from Archives Tasmania, and others from photographers themselves or their descendants.

Tracy Puklowski, General Manager of Creative Arts and Cultural Services for the City of Launceston, said the latest exhibition at QVMAG Inveresk offers a chance to explore the amazing angles of Tasmania.

"Our island is filled with adventures waiting to be had, from mountain tops and secluded beaches, to rough and unruly bushland — Tasmania is filled with incredible landscapes across the state," Ms Puklowski said.

"Natural Visions: The Camera and Conservation in Tasmania allows you to take a photography trek across Tasmania, and to experience our state from new and incredible angles."

QVMAG Senior Public History Curator Jon Addison said there were many interesting stories behind the photographs within the exhibition.

"I moved to Tasmania in 2008 and have taken every opportunity I can since then to explore the beautiful landscapes of this amazing State," Mr Addison said.

"I think it is both important for people to be aware of how beautiful and special Tasmania is, and to know more about how attitudes to the natural world have changed over time.

"QVMAG's collection of photographs of natural landscapes is very large and is a fantastic resource within our archives. In 2013 I co-curated the first version of this exhibition. It was incredibly popular, and when the opportunity came up to work with the collection again, we jumped at the chance!"

Natural Visions: The Camera and Conservation in Tasmania is now on show at QVMAG Inveresk.