LONDON.- Hamiltons Gallery presents BLAZE, a new series by the renowned Australian photographerMurray Fredericks. This astonishing body of work is on view from 14th November 2022 to 21st January 2023. Frederick’s new series has fire as its central theme whilst transporting you to the vast regions of the Australian salt planes and wetlands.
Hamiltons has represented Murray Fredericks for over a decade. His atmospheric photographs border on the sublime – giving rise to the emotional and physical sense of an overwhelming awe of nature. These large-scale, colour photographs are set against the vast expanse of the Australian landscape, in particular flooded lakes and river systems. However, unlike Frederick’s previous works, BLAZE has fire as its central theme. Using non-destructive methods, Fredericks seemingly sets trees alight to create mesmerizing natural ‘beacons’.
The creation of this series was an extremely labour-intensive process. It saw Frederick’s spend weeks scouring the outback to find the perfect location, this often involved camping for days at a time, carrying the necessary equipment through woodlands and across sandy planes. Once satisfied with the location Fredericks painstakingly attached bendable gas pipes up the back of dead trees, the pipes followed the trunks and leafless branches, consciously hidden from the camera. This method, sourced from film industry pyrotechnical specialists allows for the flames to burn but only for a few seconds leaving enough time to capture the image, and causes no trace or damage to the trees or the surrounding environment.
BLAZE was produced during ‘La Nina’ which is an event that occurs every 3 to 5 years. La Nina refers to the cooling of surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, this increases the chance of above average rainfall for Northern and Eastern Australia during summer. The central Australian deserts and marginal areas are defined by an infinity of dry creek beds and salt planes with rare biodiversity capable of withstanding years of drought. After the intense rainfall and flooding of La Nina these areas explode back into life. Having experienced this phenomenon Fredericks wanted to capture it on camera. His addition of fire to the landscape adds to the unexpectedness of the already unusual scene.
Fire is a seminal element of ancient and contemporary Australia. Both fire and water have deep cultural histories as symbols in art and literature. Responding to these cultural references, Fredericks employs fire as an intervention in the flooded Australian landscape to create this series of powerful images. “The beauty of the explosive energy that is being presented with a picture of a flame - it has got to be evolutionary, we are all attracted to it, we swarm to it.” – Murray Fredericks, 2022