Synopsis Lake Eyre

SALT is the story of award winning and internationally renowned photo-artist, Murray Fredericks on his annual solo pilgrimage to the heart of Lake Eyre in the remote north corner of South Australia. It is a piece on the personal journey of the artist, the creative process and the landscape itself.

Alone on the most featureless landscape on earth, Murray’s personal video diary captures the beauty of this bleak, empty and desolate environment – and provides the catalyst for an unexpected personal transformation.

Told with subtlety, care and gentle, dry humour, SALT is the story of what emanates from emptiness. By combining the breathtaking imagery of this surreal landscape with the hauntingly delicate sounds of Aajinta’s Harmonic Spheres, it attempts to identify what lies beneath the surface of our reality and how 'something' can be produced from 'nothing'.

Cameras on Lake Eyre

SALT interweaves Murray’s sublime pictures, with innovative time-lapse sequences, and illuminating and exposing video diary excerpts. Stripped back to its essentials, Murray’s emotional and mind altering rollercoaster ride is told through a fusion of personally reflective sound bytes and satellite phone conversations with his wife and family at home in Sydney.

Totally isolated, with only the horizon line as his reference point, and thoughts as his only companion, Murray is forced to overcome the environmental elements of rain, mud plains, lightning, equipment failure and the ever intrusive salt. The resulting photographs are not just sublime pictures of a remote and surreal location – they are still points that punctuate a journey of the mind and spirit.

Director's Statement

”Murray Fredericks has been camping alone in the centre of Lake Eyre for five weeks at a time, every year for the past six years.

SALT is the name of the ongoing photographic series that Murray Fredericks has produced on these solo journeys. The photographs are representations of pure space, infinity and emptiness. The imagery conveys ‘essence’ over ‘place’.

Three years ago, Murray took with him a video camera to record his experiences on one of these remarkable journeys. When he returned he showed me the footage he’d captured. I had never seen anything like it!

I was stunned by the subject matter and by the quality of the sequences, all from someone working alone and who had never worked with video before. I saw the foundation of a stunning documentary.

Each time Murray returned from the Lake, I reviewed the footage and set new tasks for the next one. The process of creating the documentary evolved over a number of subsequent expeditions to the Lake. Rather than being a literal documentation of Murray’s work & processes, we both felt that the film should in itself be an extension of the SALT photographic series.

To understand what was really happening out there I travelled with Murray on one of his journeys to the Lake. We broke with ‘protocol’ on that trip and filmed some more ‘traditional’ documentary interviews with myself operating the camera and asking the questions. Interestingly, all that footage ended up on the ‘cutting room floor’. The solitude and the intensity of experience was absent from those recordings – they just did not fit with the rest of the project.

All footage in the documentary was taken by Murray with the exception of the aerial shots produced on Murray’s final visit to the Lake.

The film is the story of Murray’s inner and outer journeys on the Lake using the landscape and climate as a narrator. The imagery and soundtrack act as a vehicle that carries the audience into emptiness and the void. A space to imagine.

One man, alone on the surface of the earth, in the middle of the universe.”

- Michael Angus