Johnny Abegg: Returning to Tasmania

Home Again

Storyteller: Johnny Abegg, Australia

Mother and child playing at the beach.

What were the reasons for your travel?

My wife and I hadn’t traveled much since having our first child Indiana, mostly due to the fact that we were nervous to travel with him, as he was a little high maintenance when he was little. But then, once he got over a year old, we wanted to get over those nerves and do our first interstate trip as a young family. I grew up in Tasmania until I was 15, and since living in Byron Bay I’ve always been drawn back to my childhood memories, and the open spaces. So it was my pick as a destination, to show my young family some of the places I loved as a kid, and expose them to the wild feelings Tasmania evokes.

Toddler outside in a yellow singlet.

What compelled you to tell your travel story in a photo book?

I think the digital era breeds a need to create something tangible at times. I’ve got so many photos on my computer desktop, so I was thinking of creative/clever ways to share some of our family adventures with my kids, and a nice format that would stand the test of time on the book shelf, and not get lost on a hard drive. I actually did a couple tests of the same book with other online publishing formats, but MILK was so beautiful and came out just how I wanted. I often look back on photos from my childhood, and felt a need to start creating an archive of the kids lives through storytelling and photos. Sort of a way of externalizing our lives. In a way a book can outlive us and be passed onto the next generation.

Ocean and sky.

What is your favorite image and why?

The opening spread (pictured above). I took this photograph while crossing the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, from Kettering to Bruny Island. I love how the ocean and the sky are almost a mirror of one another. Each time I’ve crossed this stretch of water, it’s taken on such different personas. A lot of the time wild and windy, with this day being calm, warm (for Tasmanian standards) and inviting. I suppose the image allows me to exhale and relax.

Basket Bay

What is your favorite story behind a single shot in the book?

This shot of Basket Bay evokes memories from my childhood, when we used to search out waves to surf in the area as teenagers. This place would always scare us, if it was one of the options to surf. There’s a massive cave that you would either have to paddle or walk through. The area feels prehistoric with how the cliffs meet the ocean, the water dark but really clear. Our imaginations would always run a little wild here.


Been abroad? Tell your story in print.