Flowers in ice is for me a new departure in macro photography. I first came across this technique through the work of Fleur Olby. Her plant portraits have always been an inspiration to me. I was especially intrigued by a series of these portraits made by placing flowers in water and in some cases ice. Not only did the beauty of these images strike me but also the challenge of working with ice. How to freeze the plant material so that it can be photographed, how to light and having to work quickly as the flowers deteriorate as they emerge from their frozen state.
There is a an element of chance working with flowers and ice, often these chances offer new and surprising possibilities that you have to be alive to. Sometimes flowers move around in the freezing process or ice is thicker in some areas or another revealing or obscuring details. There is a marked visual difference between flowers frozen in de-ionised water or tap water, the latter makes for milky ice that can have its own charm. Sometimes the chance element can be frustrating when flowers end up in awkward configurations with other elements in the ice. However with the possibilities offered by editing software it is possible to arrive at an image that which is often better than the original idea.
Many time less is more. Ghostly forms below a thicker layer of frozen water allow the mind to weave its own stories around the images. As the ice melts more of the frozen flower is revealed but then delicate petals wilt and colours become muddied. I think that this balance between preservation and destruction is part of the attraction of working in this way.
At the moment I’m not sure where this line of image making is going to take me, it is early in the growing season so my options are limited. However as we progress into summer I know that the garden will be offering new opportunities to combine flowers, leaves and other plant material.