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"Oh here you are, where did you disappear to?"
Untitled #7Photography by Ryan James Caruthers

Freeze frames

A photographer’s penchant for ice immortalises the memory of his loved ones in this ongoing series

Capturing precious moments of his grandparents, photographer Ryan James Caruthers presents his yearlong photo offering, Oh here you are, where did you disappear to? Based in New York City, and noted as one of Lorde’s Royals for his ocular talent in self-portraiture, the photographer’s background in art reflects in his latest work which sees him meld a transient material with a quest to prolong the memory of his recently-passed grandparents.

Employing mixed media and a penchant for ice, a year ago Caruthers embarked upon an intimate project, photographing his relatives in their home; "I believe it was just instinctual for me to document those I hold close," he explains. Yet, what started as a visual archival exercise steadily became time capsules of memories as his beloved grandparents passed, and Caruthers took to freezing their personal items in ice, capturing them through his lens as they melted back into life.

“Ice is so incredible because it is far more complex than it may initially seem,” he says. “Taking and freezing these objects for days upon days isolated them, only to bring them back to the house to leave to circumstance. It's a remarkable material to work with.” With inanimate objects encased in frozen slabs – a mirror, flowers and a photo frame – the collection depicts the private mementos of his loved ones that he felt most comfortable sharing. “These separate chosen objects each possess valuable meaning, most derived from personal experiences with my grandmother,” he says. An ongoing project (“I have been making accompanied video pieces that are hours in length, depicting the frozen objects melting in the house”) this initial segment of a grandson’s love serves as a touching, prepossessing memento highlighting our need to preserve the memory of those we love, in any way possible.

For more of Caruther’s work, click here for his personal site