Kimberley Photography

~Hugh Brown~

Hugh Brown: Lennard Gorge

Many of the Photos on this site have been generously donated for use by Hugh Brown. Hugh Brown is an adventurer and professional photographer. He has worked in some of Australia and the world’s most remote areas. Though the Kimberley is Hugh’s home – and much of his work has been undertaken in that and the Pilbara region, Hugh has also shot in some of the world’s more remote areas: the Congo Basin, far West Africa and the Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea.

In 2003 Hugh released his first book: a soft-cover photographic essay of the Kimberley. Since then he has released three others, including his two recent hard-cover coffee table works: “The Kimberley: Tierra de mi Alma – Land of my Soul” and “The Pilbara – Australia’s Ancient Heartbeat”. After studying commerce and law, Hugh worked in the field of corporate taxation and then in management consulting for successive US-held firms. He moved to Broome in 1998 and it was then that his love for photography took hold.

Hugh Brown: Mitchell Falls

Over the last eleven years, Hugh has travelled extensively. The majority of this travel has been undertaken into remote areas for which he has used many forms of transportation. These have included: helicopter, floatplane, conventional fixed-wing, motor-bike, quad-bike, 4WD, foot, inflatable-kayak, boat and, even, wheelbarrow! Hugh grew up in the Victorian High Country and developed his appreciation for the outdoors during his many frequent trips to the surrounding snowfields in winter and then later during his many bushwalking and fishing trips.

Hugh has worked for some of the world’s largest companies. Recent assignments have taken him along the Kimberley Coast, shooting some of its oldest and most spectacular rock-art for an Australian Geographic feature. He has also been on a two week helicopter trip through the Pilbara shooting the area’s biggest mines; as well as an eleven day solo walk down one of the Kimberley’s most remote and rugged river systems living entirely off the land.

High Brown: Lennard Gorge Falls

Like most who come to call the Kimberley home, Hugh ended up here somewhat unconventionally.

“In April, 1998, and following a meeting in Perth, I took leave and determined to hitch-hike up the Western Australian coast: from Perth to Broome and then onto the Bungles. My first ride was taken with a removal truck, and we stopped en route at Wongan Hills, where he spent a day and a half packing up a house, and relocating the furniture whatever distance it was to Geraldton. It was physical work, but something different and I enjoyed the fact that I did not know what would happen from day to day...."

"...On reaching Broome, I pushed on shortly thereafter to the Bungles turnoff, where I bade farewell to my ride and prepared for the possibility of a 53 kilometre walk (the distance from the main highway to the Visitor Centre). Luck was with me however, and after a wait of an hour or two, I managed a ride with a tour operator taking guests from Kununurra. From there, I linked up with a Dutch couple and we walked the 34 kilometres to the head of Piccaninny Gorge, and back, on an overnight hike. This was the start of my love affair with the Kimberley. I returned to Melbourne, flew back to Broome, where I teed up a job, and departed Geelong for a 5,000 kilometre trip that took me west of Ayers Rock and down through the Gibson and Great Victoria Deserts.That was 1998..."

Hugh Brown: Bell Gorge

"..Though my love for the Kimberley (and Australia’s north), was immediate, and strong, it was some years before I felt comfortable. Something inside worried that the vortex I called Melbourne would pull me back and that my time in the north would be brief. I determined to see as much as I possibly could. Each weekend, I would jump in my vehicle (initially, an old Subaru) and drive - up to 2500 kilometres. Having taken not more than 20 rolls of film in my life to this point, the camera came everywhere. Kanch, my Labrador, did too. Most of the photos were pretty ordinary, but somehow I was hooked. I would return home, send the film to Perth and wait the week or so for the results. When the processed film did arrive, I’d pour over it for hours, working out where I had mucked up and how I could not replicate the mistakes next time. It was education by trial and error: nothing more, nothing less. Eleven years later, many things have changed. Photography has become my livelihood, and the Kimberley, my passion, heart and soul. Photography has become my window to a far bigger picture: my window to adventure. It has given me the excuse, and now the opportunity, to push personal limits: to try new things and test personal boundaries of fear...."

Hugh Brown: Hiking Photo

"...The last eleven years have afforded one hell of a ride. With friends, and often alone, I’ve crossed rivers at the height of their Wet Season flow, on occasion above 100 metre waterfalls (there’s issues mind you if you don’t make it across!), and photographed in narrow 100-metre deep slot canyons in torrential rain. I’ve been hit by lightning, during a trip to the east of Marble Bar, and been bogged, alone, in a saltwater creek on the Canning Stock Route. In the latter case, it was mid January, 470C and no-one had travelled the area for perhaps a month or more. In January, 2006, we took a chopper over two days and photographed the Kimberley at its most dramatic. Though A$7,000 in camera gear was lost to rising floodwaters (while photographing in heavy rain at the head of a powering waterfall), that trip will stay with me as one of the most memorable of my life. Then, about three weeks later, with an English couple fresh off a cruise-liner, we pushed and skull-dragged 130 kilos of wheel-barrow, 19 kilometres through rock and mud, to our camp-spot at the bottom of an elevated scarp: brutal work, but immense fun....”