Nothing on Earth

58 min. Dreamscape. 2017. $24.99. $199.99. (PPR). ISBN 818506020701.
Gr 8 Up—Photographer Murray Fredericks comes across as a philosopher in this documentary about his journeys to photograph the Greenland ice shelf. Fredericks doesn't want to just shoot a snowy mountain peak or a beautiful sunset, feeling that there are already plenty of those images in the world. Instead he's interested in the abstract landscapes where there is nothing noticeably outstanding. The Greenland ice cap is perfect for him—flat and featureless. He first tried to go it alone, but after fighting winds that threaten to bury his tent and topple his cameras and constantly being on guard against polar bear attacks, he accepted that he needs help, so he worked with an explorer and several Inuit guides. Over the course of several seasons spanning a few years, he visited the ice cap five times, traveling by foot, helicopter, and dog sled, creating time-lapse panoramic photographs. The action of the photographer capturing his vision amid the breathtaking landscape is intercut with Fredericks's serene, severe photographs and quotes from philosophers and writers about intention and artistry. On the surface, this may look like a nature film about Greenland, but it is very much a documentary about an artist's process and mind-set.
VERDICT Art and perhaps even high school philosophy classes will get more out of this film than science and environmental studies courses would.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing