Cryogenic Photography

model Angel My Darling, hair Victoria Buge, mua Claudia Aguilera

Otzi the Iceman, Han Solo in carbonite,  Mr. Freeze- practical applications of the force of nature known as freezing.   Photographers have made use of ice as well.   Ralph Eugene Meatyard created images evocative of the splatter paintings of Jackson Pollock where paint was frozen in ice and photographed.   The notion of leaving photographs in the hands of the elements is a fine one- why photoshop in a questionable looking burn on an image if it looks more real and interesting to do a controlled burn on a print?

model Angel My Darling, hair Victoria Buge, mua Claudia Aguilera

A print can be frozen, with the ice acting as a “real world photoshop” filter, and since solid objects can interplay with photographic prints if they are frozen together in one space, negative space in the image can be filled up with something relevant to the image, like a supporting graphic element, or something fun and quirky, such as rainbow sprinkles or toys.  It’s a unique treatment for those photos that may need that extra oomph, or at the very least, a fun way to spend an afternoon with the kids.

You will need:

  1. Photographic print
  2. A pan to accommodate the size of your print and at least ½ inch deep
  3. Water
  4. Objects to place in the water, anything from leaves to jacks to foil- your choice
  5. A freezer

Step 1:

Select a photo that isn’t too cluttered in its composition.  Place in your tray.

Step 2:

Fill tray partway with water, enough to submerge the photo.  You’ll need the extra space later if your photo freezes on top of the water, rather than partway in it.

Step 3:

Add some bling.  Leaves, dust, candy, whatever works.  Keep in mind, whatever you add is likely to drift during the freezing process

Step 4:

Place the tray in the freezer and go run some errands.  No worries about “over freezing” this concoction.

Step 5:

Check out the product, and if the photo has gravitated to the surface, add water and refreeze until your image is sufficiently encased in ice.

Step 6:

Rephotograph.  Then experiement.  Crack the ice and rephotograph the result.  Allow the image to partially melt and rephotograph.

Chances are the initial photographic result will be a little flat, but add a dash of contrast to the images in the computer.  Serve chilled.

model Angel My Darling, hair Victoria Buge, mua Claudia Aguilera


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I'm a multimedia artist in Phoenix, AZ. Main Site - Instagram @primordialcreative + twitter @dbmillerphoto

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