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Photographer Matthew Abbott documents Australia’s black summer in new documentary

Exclusive screenings at the State Library of NSW

Matthew Abbott - Panos Pictures for The New York Times

Matthew Abbott - Panos Pictures for The New York Times

In the midst of a nation on fire, Australian photographer Matthew Abbott immersed himself in an unprecedented environmental catastrophe to deliver imagery that reverberated around the world.


Matthew Abbott is among the closest witnesses to one of the worst environmental disasters of the past decade. His photo of a kangaroo escaping a burning house propelled the Australian bushfires to the top of the global news cycle.  He continued to battle illness and fatigue, returning to the deadly flames, which incinerated almost 50 million acres.

Matthew’s days documenting Australia’s black summer were like no other — often ending in abandoned towns glowing with fire, houses collapsing, scurrying wildlife, water-bombing aircraft overhead; an everyday scene of the apocalypse.

But thrill-seeking is not what motivates Matthew. Instead, the job became a deep burden on his mind and body. The daily dose of toxic smoke left him with a  lung infection; his personal health symbolic of the accumulating pain this fire season inflicted.

Through a combination of immersive observational actions and quiet reflective moments, we delve deep into Matthew’s state of mind to deliver a unique first-hand account of the impact of the fires.

The film Capturing Change documents Matthew Abbott as he worked to record the catastrophic events, capturing not only his commitment to his work but his desire to document the effect of the fires on the people and the country.

Screening exclusively at the State Library of NSW

Thursday 8 October

1:00pm     5:30pm

Saturday 10 October

2:00pm     3:00pm

Tuesday 13 October

1:00pm     5:30pm

150_Matthew Abbott_Panos Pictures_for The New York Times Matthew Abbott - Panos Pictures for The New York Times
State Library of NSW