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Archive for September 18th, 2011

Lake Eyre

In the latest National Geographic magazine there is a great photo essay by Australian photographer Murray Fredericks.  It is a series of photos that Fredericks made on and around the salt flats that make up Lake Eyre, a vast ( the largest in Australia)  and most often dry lake in central Australia.  He would camp for several weeks at a  time, alone in the harsh and barren environment as he waited for the conditions to change and create absolutely stunning images of pure space.  Nothing but a horizon and color.  There are vivid colors and combinations caused by the atmospheric cinditions and a bit of sporadic  rainfall that are simply beautiful.

There is a great spiritual feel in this work although Fredericks claims that was not his initial aim in pursuing the project.  He simply wanted to photograph a landscape in pure space.  One interesting thing he mentioned is how during the many weeks he would work alone in the desolation of the space he never felt alone yet sometimes when he back in the cities, having a drink at a bar, he feels very alone.  It’s a sensation I have felt in the studio and in the forest.

This body of work very much speaks to what I was seeking in my own work when I began, an extension of things I had written where I tried to describe such vast and empty spaces.  Spaces that allowed for pure thought and sensation.  I still use this feeling of absolute wonder at the grandeur of space in my work although I’m not sure I have ever caught it in the way Fredericks has with this group of photos which is just stunning work.

There is a documentary of this project by Murray Fredericks called Salt which aired on PBS’ POV last year.  I missed that but am looking for it now.  You can see a trailer for this documentary by clicking on this link: POV – Watch Video | Salt: Trailer | PBS.

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