Over an eight-year span Murray Fredericks made sixteen long, physically and emotionally challenging solo journeys to the surface of Lake Eyre in the Australian Outback to create Salt.
Lake Eyre spreads over a vast 9,700 square kilometres, much of it is dry and covered in salt a metre and a half thick in places. Travelling with only a bicycle and trailer to carry his large format camera, supplies, water and tent, Fredericks is forced to contend with extreme conditions, which takes both a physical and mental toll. "It is the harshest environment I have ever seen. Windswept and devoid of fresh water, temperatures range from freezing to the high forties. While some rare species of animals live there, generally it's not an environment that is conducive to life." Rain water remains on the surface of the lake until it evaporates, and many of the works were taken whilst Fredericks was living in giant rainfall puddles. Consequently his images offer widely varied prospectives on colour reflected in the land and sky.
"The project arose out of a desire to work in the most barren landscape that I could find. Lake Eyre was chosen as an appropriate location since its perfectly flat surface and razor sharp horizon provide a landscape devoid of features, which extends, once out on the Lake, in every direction.", Murray Fredericks.
Each pigment print in the series is related by the placement of the horizon running across the lower third of the frame. Often this is the only referential form providing the viewer with an element that paradoxically defines space and denies total abstraction.
Salt: The Documentary
Salt is the documentary film of the project that was commissioned by the ABC, Screen Australia, The Adelaide Film Festival and the PFTC. The film, directed and produced by Michael Angus, was Fredericks' first venture into cinematography and went on to win numerous international awards.