NOTHING ON EARTH: DVD
Sydney photographer Murray Fredericks and filmmaker Michael Angus join forces once again following the success of their Lake Eyre project Salt. This time, Fredericks is heading out across the massive Greenland Ice Cap, seeking inspiration in a featureless landscape. After several failed excursions, he realises that he can't travel solo - the environment is too unforgiving. In the spring of 2012, with an experienced guide and two Inuit dogsledders, he makes it to a Cold War relic, an abandoned radar station slowly sinking into the ice. Fredericks is determined to capture time and space in an image.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
What do you call those rare people who risk their lives for taking terrific photos? Anyway, Murray Fredericks is one of them, and in this superior video diary (rather splendid to look at) we are taken along in the safety of our own seats. We start at the edge of nothing otherwise known as the Polar Ice Cap of Greenland. It's big. Empty. Freezing. White.
Murray spends six hours digging the snow away from his tent - then has breakfast and starts again. It's that kind of mission, where what he has to do to survive takes more effort than the mission itself, which is to photograph the nothingness of vast spaces on earth. He is chasing that sense of 'other' from this type of landscape would come through.
When he realises he made a mistake trying to do this alone, he wisely goes to Plan B - go back but with supporting crew. And now, a new challenge: working with people when he's never done that before.
The images are haunting and astonishing, the aurora borealis ethereal while Murray's frank narration (sometimes talking on camera but rarely into it) adds a sense of intimacy and revelation. But then we flip it as he gets ready to go onto the icecap with three teams of dog sleighs, packing 800 Kilos of dogmeat for the journey. Along the way, they come across an abandoned 1950s US built early warning radar structure, which stands as a monument to man's stupidity amidst the earth's wonders.
But it's not JUST about the images, neither the moving ones we see nor the stills he is shooting; it's also about his ambition to find meaning in space and photograph that meaning. It's harder than he thinks but more thought provoking.
So is the expedition through deadly blizzards, across dangerously melting snow and ice, a whole team of people risking life and limb - for Murray's photos.
Note: Murray Fredericks' The Icecap Project to be presented in an exhibition at the ArcOne Gallery, Melbourne from 5 November - 7 December, 2013.
Published June 6, 2013
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NOTHING ON EARTH: DVD (G)
PRODUCER: Michael Angus, Roxana McMallan
DIRECTOR: Michael Angus
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Murray Fredericks, Michael Angus
EDITOR: Lindi Harrison
MUSIC: Eric Friedlander
RUNNING TIME: 58 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: .
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: ABC
DVD RELEASE: World Premiere, Sydney Film Festival, June 9, 2013; screens June 23, ABC1 10.30pm; DVD available from June 24, 2013, ABC Shops