09/12/2012 08:40 am ET

Photographer Jon Shireman's Liquid Nitrogen 'Broken Flowers' Will Blow Your Mind (PHOTOS)

Whether through Shakespearian metaphors or vanitas painting, flowers have symbolized how life, no matter how beautiful, eventually fades. Photographer Jon Shireman, it seems, didn't feel like waiting around and instead smashed the little guys while they were in full bloom. While usually dead flowers are sucked of their color and softness, Shireman's shattered floral remains still contain the lively beauty of the originals.

For "Broken Flowers," which we first spotted on Laughing Squid, Shireman took an assortment of flowers and soaked them in liquid nitrogen until they became as fragile as the vases they often hide behind. He then used a spring-loaded device he made himself to catapult the flowers onto a white surface and snap the debris. We can't get over the Matrix-esque allure of the delicate petals cracking like porcelain. We only wish we had some smashable flowers of our own to use during dramatic moments!

Check out the broken flowers below (may they rest in pieces):

Jon Shireman