On the return flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, I watched a lot of television and film: “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding,” “Invictus,” “Wog Boy 2: Kings of Mykonos,” etc. Two documentaries really stuck in my mind, though.
I have much more to say about the first of them — “Contact” tells about the most recent (and probably last) “first encounter” between an Indigenous Australian group and white Australians in 1964 — but I need to mull it over some more. While I do, you can get the backstory from the London Sunday Times.
“Salt,” another Australian documentary from 2009, shows the creative process of photographer Murray Fredericks. Briefly: He bikes to the center of Lake Eyre, a vast, flat, (mostly) dry lake in South Australia; he sets up camp and a couple of cameras; he waits for the light to be just right; and then he makes a few 8×10″ film exposures. “Just right” depends on the weather and — it would seem — Fredericks’ mood. Sometimes the horizon is a crisp cut between sky and land, other times a mirror. Occasionally the horizon dissolves into nothing more than just another subtle tone between land and sky.
The photographs from his years of trips to the desert lake end the documentary, and they are truly spectacular landscapes. Many of them are on his website, which is definitely worth a look. For even more of his work, see the article at Mecha Fushigi. Here are a couple you can enjoy now: