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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It's a way of life." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Thursday, September 1, 2011

SALT ~ Photographer Murray Fredericks

In his search for “somewhere I could point my camera into pure space,” award-winning photographer Murray Fredericks began making annual solo camping trips to remote Lake Eyre and its SALT flats in South Australia. These trips have yielded remarkable photos of a boundless, desolate yet beautiful environment where sky, water and land merge. Made in collaboration with documentary filmmaker Michael Angus, SALT is the film extension of Fredericks’ work at Lake Eyre, interweaving his photos and video diary with time-lapse sequences to create the liberating and disorienting experience of being thrown into an infinite dimension of mind and spirit.

 What I’m fascinated with is how I feel —when you stand there in the middle of a salt plane and there’s no feature, no definition – you lose a sense of scale, and you lose a sense of boundaries. Some people would feel overwhelmed or unsettled by this, but I experience a sense of freedom. What I’m trying to do is to allow the all those emotions and sensations to affect the creation of the images. A successful image will convey not just a literal space but a psychic space as well. ~ Murray Fredericks

Fredericks on the gear he used: 'One of the interesting things about this project was that it started in 2003 and ended in 2010. In 2003, digital didn’t really exist. It was on the horizon; I think you were paying 20,000 dollars for a 1.5 megapixel sensor? Once I worked out what wanted to shoot out there, I quickly found myself on 8×10 film. I chose the 8”x10” because it allowed compositions to be made out of really subtle subject matter – often just simple tonal gradations. I also knew that if the subject was ‘space’ then the exhibition prints were going to be quite large. I chose to work on negative film for the de-saturated palate.
By the end of the project, however, there was an exhibition at Hamiltons Gallery in London, which was two five meter panoramic prints, and they were shot with ‘stitched’ medium format digital back files. One image was eight frames stitched, and the other was 12 frames stitched. This approach was used to widen the field of view. I was continually pushing the project, trying to find new ways of conveying this sense of space and these advances in digital technology opened up possibilities here that were not available using film cameras. On a single-frame shot, there’s only so wide you can go before the lens starts ‘pulling’ the edges so much that the viewer becomes aware of the ‘stretch’. When the viewer is wondering about the photographer’s technique before the central message of the image then I think the image has failed. ' [via f-stop magazine]

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