Frozen Flowers Put Photography Clichés on Ice

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'Sweet Dreams'. (Photo: Bruce Boyd)

There's no subject more classically beautiful than a still-life scene featuring a bouquet of flowers, but if you're inundated with enough of these images (a common experience in our Instagram-obsessed world), it's easy to feel fatigued by it all.

That's why it's so invigorating to witness artists smashing long-held clichés by reimagining what some might describe as a tired subject. Such is the case in these remarkable photographs, which showcase the strange beauty of flowers encased in large blocks of ice.

Titled "0 ̊C" in reference to the freezing point of water, the frosty body of work is created in tandem by South African artists Tharien Smith and Bruce Boyd.

'Dancing in the Dark'. (Photo: Bruce Boyd)

"Combining flowers and ice has given us a new way to portray a universal subject," Smith explains in House and Leisure. "The clinical nature of the ice and the emotional nature of the flowers are combined, allowing us to look at flowers in a completely different way."

Their process begins with Smith arranging the flowers and foliage in water before letting it freeze into a large ice block. Once the flowery hunk has frozen solid, the duo take it outside and drop it into a body of water. Boyd then photographs the block as it floats, melts and cracks from the warmer water surrounding it.

'Paradise City'. (Photo: Bruce Boyd)

The photos exude a sublime melancholy, subverting the traditional aesthetics of what's typically a cheery subject.

"I find it fascinating that ice can preserve something and at the same time also enhance or distort the beauty of it," the duo explain on their website. "For a few fleeting moments, we are treated to this preserved beauty, the past encapsulated perfectly, before the ice melts and flowers wilt. The only constant is change."

'Where is My Mind?'. (Photo: Bruce Boyd)

Smith and Boyd have been working on this icy series for quite awhile, and earlier this year, their efforts culminated in the joint exhibition, "Flows," which highlights their collaboration and a unified theme of water.

'Violently Happy'. (Photo: Bruce Boyd)
'Fields of Gold'. (Photo: Bruce Boyd)