Ice is frozen, which is obvious. But what’s not always so obvious is that ice can signify, both symbolically and in reality, the stopping or slowing of time. Locked in ice, life can be preserved and time can literally be frozen. Which is what makes the thawing of ice all the more poignant and, for Kenji Shibata, an ideal subject to photograph.
In a new series titled “Locked in the ether,” the Osaka-based photographer creates flower ice cubes and then photographs them as they are thawing. Time and the perpetual present is beautifully yet painfully forced onto his lens as clocks begin to tick away once again. The flowers, whose beauty could have been preserved, are now tossed back into the merciless cycle of time and will soon wither away. Shibata’s photographs are currently on display at Tachibana Gallery in Osaka through December 20.