Beauty is truly fleeting, especially when it is frozen in liquid nitrogen and shattered by a spring-loaded contraption. New York photographer Jon Shireman immerses flowers for up to 30 minutes in LN2, and rockets them into a hard surface, recording their destruction with a high speed camera for his 2010 “Broken Flowers” project. Displayed against a stark white background, the blooms resemble splintered china plates or floral fireworks.
Flowers generally represent life, transitory youth, and vitality. Photographer Jon Shireman literally smashes these symbols into oblivion, using liquid nitrogen to render them brittle and even more fragile. Visually intriguing and emotionally provoking, his “Broken Flower” photography is a an engaging study in composition. Making mosaics out of his subjects, the photographs provokes questions as to our fascination with destruction, aesthetics, and dominion over nature.