Horizons

There’s a big difference between a horizontal line and a vertical one. The first opens up unlimited space, symbolising freedom and lightness; vertical lines are barriers that do the opposite. A new exhibition at the Annandele Galleries, Sydney, shows Murray Fredericks’ confrontations with one of these, open space.

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Most famously, he made a series of photographs from Lake Eyre, Southern Australia, that he called Salt. Now he shows more horizons from the Greenland ice sheet.

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You can calculate the distance to the horizon from an observer, if you ignore the effect of refraction by the atmosphere.

The equation is d≈3.57h‾‾√,  where d is in kilometres and h is height above ground level in metres.

So, for a 1.7m tall observer the horizon is at a distance of 4.7 kilometres. If the observer is 2m tall, the horizon is 5km away. For an observer standing on a 100m hill, the horizon is at a distance of 36 kilometres. From the top of Mount Everest (8,848 metres) it is at a distance of 336 kilometres.

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Sometimes you need help to distinguish photographs from paintings.

(thanks to S Howden, BBC, Sydney; painting by Albert Williamson)