The HarroArt Gallery is a new creative space in the Mt Buller Village, showcasing fine art photographs and a carefully curated collection of local works. Owner and photographer Tony ‘Harro’ Harrington has been capturing images at the extremes of snow and surf around the globe for over 25 inspirational years, and it’s still what drives him today. An adventurer, photographer, filmer, big mountain skier, surfer and experience-seeker, Harro sets out on unique adventures, often with a cast of courageous and talented athletes.
You might find him carving descents on the massive peaks of Alaska or searching out 50-foot waves in remote corners of the world’s oceans. Few photographers have pushed the limits of this realm as Harro has; as such, he stands alone as a rare individual who solidly masters both worlds: the extreme physical and the creative visual.
With well over 150 magazine covers and a collection of numerous global awards for his work, his images are born of passion, commitment, overcoming fear and facing the challenge of nature and the elements head-on.
Essentials recently caught up with Harro to learn more about the works on display at his new Mt Buller gallery space.
‘I started shooting at 16 years old through a passion for capturing special moments of adventure and lifestyle – especially in surfing in the beginning. I was always one of the first surfers out in the morning, usually before the sun come up, and had my share of waves by the time the crowds hit the water, so then I’d grab my camera and swim out and shoot.’
‘After completing an electrical apprenticeship, I started work in 1996 as a cleaner in the Thredbo Alpine Hotel and ever since then, I’ve chased surf and snow, leading up to 35 years of constant travelling chasing storms, shooting 60ft+ waves around the world and spending 25 years in Alaska where we put in years of first descents there and adventure to Greenland back in the mid to late ’90s. However, my passion for adventure and photography has never stopped – and that has led to me opening the HarroArt Gallery in the Village Square of Mt Buller, where I now spend my winter months.’
What can visitors to Mt Buller expect to see at your new on-mountain gallery in 2021?
‘Visitors to The Gallery can expect to see an eclectic array of photographic art curated from shooting over 15 years here at the resort. It takes extraordinary moments, many often fleeting, to capture something exceptional. I’m extremely particular when it comes to creating an image that I can personally call stunning, and when these are deployed on the wall, it really is a mesmerising experience.’
What formats can art collectors buy your work in?
‘I love the opportunities available to us to present artwork these days. Of course, there is the traditional wooden frame, but what has become popular is Metallic Facemounts, a slimline design comprising the print being created on metallic paper, anodised aluminium backing, and museum-grade acrylic. This technology brings out incredible detail within the image and makes the art piece lifelike. Tiles – ranging from 100mm x 100mm that make perfect drink coasters, mementos, 300mm square trivet and cheese boards right up to full-scale wall tiles printed with artwork for kitchens, bathrooms etc. It’s so exciting what can be created with a bit of imagination.’
You’ve shot extensive work at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA. Why did you choose to shoot images in that region of the USA?
‘I chose Jackson Hole as my northern winter resort base due to the dramatic beauty of the Teton Mountains, the fact that the resort traditionally has the deepest, driest and most consistent snowfall in North America, definitely the most exciting ski terrain and above and beyond all else the authentic Wild West ambience of the area. This is real cowboy country, moose walk down the road and across the ski runs, locals still line dance on Sunday nights at the Stage Coach in Wilson and still some of the best skiers on the mountain are the ones with duck tape patches on well worn Gortex pants and jackets.’
Mt Buller is known as the family mountain; how do you get involved in the local community, and can visitors get their photo taken by you?
‘As passionate as we are about photography, we are just as passionate about creating special memories for our guests on their visit to the resort. I’ve been running The PhotoShop since 2016, where each day we have photographers out shooting the kids in ski school, capturing all the ski and snowboard races across the winter, offering private shoots with families, either in a gorgeous alpine setting amongst the snow-covered gums or them in action out on the slopes.’
What collections of work are offered at your gallery?
‘I have several collections of work available. The Platinum Edition range is limited to just 8 pieces of each image as wall art. These will be exceptional captures of light and landscape, often taking decades to capture. The Premium Edition collection is limited to just 25 pieces of wall art and is rare to capture. Open Edition prints are also many peoples favourites, as, at the end of the day, art is in the eyes of the beholder and how a piece of wall art compliments one’s interior.’
What’s the story behind the Mt Buller parrot images – how did you capture such detail and perfect scenes?
‘Silver Lady is an exceptional piece available as an Open Edition. I captured this juvenile Gang Gang in the trees within the Village Square. What’s so intriguing about it outside of the gorgeous capture is that Gang Gang’s aren’t supposed to stay in alpine areas in the wintertime, and you’d think if they did, they would choose one of the many empty peaks of the high country. But, instead, for two winters, they stayed around Buller and seemed to enjoy the company of the people in the resort.’
Do you have any tips for aspiring nature photographers working in the snow?
‘Rug up! It gets bloody cold up here! You need to be patient, and this involves a lot of standing around. It’s hard work hiking up a mountain, and through snow, you’ll often be sweating to get there, and then you’ll cool down and freeze when staying around, so layers of clothing is a must, and you should take an extra layer or two in your backpack in case you do need to change or add some warmth. I like having two sets of glove liners as one is always bound to get wet, so a spare is a great idea. It’s a very challenging environment; dress for the elements, and you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience.’
Does the abundance of ‘white’ cause a problem with overexposure or judging correct exposure settings?
‘There is a lot of light in the snow, bouncing off in all directions, and there’s usually a lot of heavy contrast. I tend to underexpose a little, so the whites aren’t too blown out, as, in post-production, you can always lighten some of the darker areas. Colour correcting an overexposed image in the snow is a challenge, if not impossible, to make it look right.’
What are you excited about regarding this year’s Buller ski season?
‘I’m excited about seeing people again. It’s been 2 years since we’ve seen good friends! I’m excited about capturing new content and experimenting more with technique and light. That’s the one fantastic things about photography; you’ll never get too good. There’s always too much to learn.’
Where do you like to eat and drink on-mountain currently?
‘Mt Buller is very fortunate to have many quality places to choose from for food and drink. Morning coffee on the mountain at Tyrol is a key pick, après-ski in the downstairs bar of The Moosehead with its fireplace, comfy lounges, and warming ambience. It’s also a great place to share stories with friends from the day!’
‘My three favourite restaurants are Enzian, Black Cockatoo and Pension Grimus, each offering a different yet complementary menu of exquisite alpine gastronomy. And if you are up for treats, then I have to mention that The Gallery offers unique mouth-watering chocolates, brittles, nougat and fudge that has been curated from a selection of the best producers around the region and beyond. Wrap that up in a piece of gorgeous Mt Buller artwork, and you have the perfect gift for friends and family – if the chocolates make it that far!’