All Smith & Boyd’s pictures are undoubtedly captivating. They somehow elicit a strong emotional connection, like you’ve been there yourself, either peering through the lens, or as the subject itself. Their Zero Degrees project is no different. Flowers and other organic matter are frozen into blocks and dropped into various water sources, allowing the ice to crack and burst, releasing the encapsulated artwork as it slowly melts away. Not only are these pictures different and thought provoking, but they are downright beautiful to boot.
We had a chat with Bruce Boyd to find out a bit more.
HP: How long have you been working on this project?
BB: We have been working on the project for more than a year now. Our first image was shot in May last year when I accidentally dropped an ice-block with frozen flowers into a swimming pool.
HP: What inspires the different creations you and Tharien Smith make?
BB: Tharien is inspired by water and nature. She likes what flowers represent: passion, love, gratitude, innocence, etc. I grew up with massive flower arrangements in our house at all times. My mother used to put them together and my father used to paint them. All our walls were adorned with my father’s creations. I guess I am walking in my father’s footsteps using my own tools for creation.
HP: Which are your of your favourite pieces, and why?
BB: Tharien's favourite is the bones. She is fascinated by archeology. My favourite piece is not part of the prints collection(yet). It features decaying cosmos flowers half submerged in an oily puddle. I love the decay and the elements of pollution combined with the last shreds of beauty from the wilting flowers.
HP: You drop your creations into different kinds of water sources. What are the different reactions and affects this creates?
BB: The ice reacts to the temperature of the water and then either cracks in interesting ways or sometimes just melts slowly. We have used a wide range of puddles and pools depending on where we are at the time and what is closest. My favourite is a little stream in Betty's Bay that we used extensively during the summer. The water was shallow enough so that you could see the stream bed and it became part of the picture. I also like swimming pools for the intense blueness that sometimes contrast beautifully with the flowers.
HP: What is your greatest aspiration with regard to your artworks?
BB: My artworks are usually just stepping stones for something else that could momentarily satisfy my need to create something interesting. I aspire to have a life filled with projects that make me want to get up early in the morning or stay up late at night. It would be great if they could become self-sustainable so that I would not have to do the mundane things that pay the bills anymore.
HP: Is there anything that you wouldn't encapsulate in ice and photograph? Why not?
BB: Nothing comes to mind. We love playing and experimenting with different objects and textures.
These remarkable images evoke a sense of longevity, while simultaneously reminding us of the fragility of life. Pretty neat stuff. Even better – they’re currently on sale! Go have a gander, and a bout of existentialism here: https://hellopretty.co.za/smithboyd