Photographing the vast and infinite landscapes

Apr 28, 2017 - Jun 14, 2017Murray Fredricks, London

The Vanity series is a continuation of Fredericks’ renowned Salt series, previously exhibited at Hamiltons in Salt, 2007, Salt II, 2009 and Recent Work, 2014 – 2015. In this next cycle of the project, Fredericks introduces a mirror into the previously undisturbed landscape. 

Australian photographer Murray Fredericks’ long relationship with Lake Eyre, where his most recent series Vanity has been produced, commenced in 2003, and to date consists of twenty journeys to the centre of the lake where he photographs for weeks at a time in the vast and infinite landscape. Fredericks is not interested in documenting the literal forms of the landscape. He views the landscape as medium in itself which, when represented in a photograph, has the potential to convey the emotional quality of his experience and relationship to the lake.

Fredericks’ relationship to this project stems from his initial visit to a salt lake in 2001 where late one night he wandered away from his campsite and stopped for some time. Standing alone in the darkness he became aware that the boundary between his physical body and the environment he stood within seemed to soften and become less defined. Fredericks experienced an unfamiliar, powerful sensation of calm and eventually a release from the ever-present anxieties that seem to be inherent to the human condition. In that moment, Fredericks felt a connection to something that seemed to exist beyond his conscious mind. The memory of that experience stayed with Fredericks and defined his pursuit of landscape imagery. 

“The mirror can be seen as emblematic of our obsession with ourselves, individually, and collectively. In the ‘Vanity’ series, rather than reflecting our own ‘surface’ image, the mirror is positioned to draw our gaze out and away from ourselves, into the environment, driving us towards an emotional engagement with light, colour and space.”

Murray Fredericks's Salt: Vanity is on view at Hamiltons through June 14, 2017.