O ̊˚C is a creative collaboration between artist Tharien Smith and photographer Bruce Boyd, featuring unique images of flowers, fynbos and found objects encapsulated in ice.

We wanted to find a unique way to photograph flowers. After some research we came across the work of Japanese artist, Makoto Azuma. His work inspired us to experiment with flowers frozen in ice. When we froze the flowers every arrangement reacted differently. As it froze, bubbles formed at random. 

After a few days of experimentation we dropped some ice blocks into a swimming pool and were mesmerised by the results. When immersed in water, the ice cracked and created a totally unique canvas. Within the process of freezing and thawing, strange and exciting things happened.

We spent about a year photographing more than a hundred blocks of ice-arrangements. Most of the time the conditions weren’t perfect or the ice-blocks had developed a cloudiness, which obscured the flowers. After a few months we perfected the process and were able to get together enough material for an exhibition.

The process

Flowers are frozen overnight in plastic containers and then photographed at dawn in the nearest pool, stream or puddle. Upon hitting the water the ice-blocks crack randomly and together with the bubbles formed during the freezing process, create an unique picture.

Why ice? "I find it fascinating that ice can preserve something and at the same time also enhance or distort the beauty of it. For a few fleeting moments, we are treated to this preserved beauty, the past encapsulated perfectly, before the ice melts and flowers wilt. "