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The rugged wild Tasmanian coastline.
Photographer Paul Hoelen spent one summer working as a trekking guide in Tasmania, but found he missed the opportunities for deep personal connections that wilderness therapy provides.
Paul says his relationship with the wilderness, especially in Tasmania, pictured here, fulfils a spiritual need in his life.
Two hikers in the Tarkine wilderness, Tasmania.
The area is special to Paul, who is a member of Nature Photographers Tasmania, a group of photographers who volunteer their talents to support conservation efforts in the Tarkine and other endangered wilderness areas.
In addition to his job as a photographer, Paul works as a facilitator for the Wilderness Program, a Tasmanian government organisation that provides wilderness therapy to disadvantaged individuals such as truant teens, drug and alcohol rehab clients, and young single mothers.
Paul’s outdoor photos often appear in presentations promoting wilderness therapy programs, and have also been used in scientific research about wilderness therapy.
Wilderness therapy programs introduce disadvantaged individuals to the beauty of Tasmania’s natural areas while giving them the confidence and skills necessary to realise their potential.
Clouds sweep across the sky above Tasmania’s Tarkine Coast. The Tarkine is Paul’s current favourite wilderness area to photograph.
Two trees stand proudly above the water’s edge on a peninsula south of Auckland, New Zealand, Paul’s home country.
Paul combines his photographic talents with his work as a wilderness therapy facilitator by taking photos during each wilderness therapy program, then giving the images to participants as reminders of their time in the bush.
Paul enjoys observing nature in every scale, from the grand to the minute. These photos were taken on a rock outcrop in Dodges Ferry, Tasmania.
Paul, a native Kiwi, moved to Tasmania 12 years ago after falling in love with the state’s natural beauty.
Photography allows Paul to capture unique moments, letting him revisit them later or share them with others.
Award-winning photographer Paul Hoelen provides a safety net for clients as a wilderness therapy facilitator, but he says the real therapeutic power of the program comes from participants’ interactions with each other and with the natural world.
The ocean swirls amongst rocks on Tasmania’s Tarkine Coast.
Paul Hoelen shoots for the moon on Maria Island, Tasmania. Paul was honoured as the 2011 Tasmanian Professional Photographer of the Year, Landscape Photographer of the Year, and General Photographer of the year by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography.
In addition to landscapes, Paul enjoys photographing music festivals and other big events.
In addition to Tasmanian images like this one from Maria Island, Paul’s award-winning portfolio included photos from New Zealand, Lombok, and Bali.
Vale of Belvoir, Tasmania
Paul says his relationship with the wilderness fulfils a spiritual and artistic need in his life.
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