What Happens When You Freeze Flowers and Shoot Them With a Gun?

By Joseph Stromberg

Photos © Martin Klimas


German photographer Martin Klimas has a thing for explosions. Previously, he’s made art by photographing shattered fragile ceramic figures as they hit the ground and firing projectiles at onions, pumpkins and ears of corn.

Now, he’s brought this explosive approach to a new medium: flower blossoms in full bloom, frozen by liquid nitrogen.

“I was inspired by the blossoms themselves,” he says of his new project, “Exploding Flowers,” which he worked on for nearly a year and publicly debuted about a month ago. “There are so many different forms and species on the planet. I was interested in the blossom’s architecture, and I tried to make that visible by breaking the blossom into as many pieces as possible.”

To achieve this, he sought out flowers with particularly complex internal structures and froze them to -200° Celsius in liquid nitrogen. Once they were frozen, he had to be careful. “They’re as fragile as raw eggs,” he says. “You can destroy them by sneezing.”

After the flowers were frozen, he brought them to his set and placed the stem in a vice to hold the blossom in front of a white background. He used a normal air gun rigged with a device that let him remotely pull the trigger, and took a series of shots right at the moment of impact.

Read more about Martin Klimas’ unique photography and see more photos at Smithsonian.com.

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