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Puddles: Seeing more clearly after a rain

By Ryan Gierach, West Hollywood, California

El Nino came and rinsed away the grime of the Creative City, which does awfully dirty work but gets dowsed too seldom.

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The series of storms bearing down on California in the next weeks due to our Rain Bearer promises to scrub the streets of West Hollywood.

Perhaps more importantly, those showers will cleanse some parking lots, sidewalks and alleyways.

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Those places hold the grime of years, from soot to dust to rubber to grit to oil and every other thing one can imagine.

Our ruts, the city’s low points, the lots of broken blacktop, reflect after a rain the state of our advancement.


As a child walking home from school after a rain above the reflecting puddles I saw the world quite differently.

The view, if concentrated upon, could transform me from a ground-walking child to a master of the heavens.


Through that prism I envisioned myself the rain god, walking about underneath and hanging down from the trees’ reflected boughs, ripples of my gait failing to catch me up as I strode godlike through my newly wetted domain.


As I think of it, it occurs to me that those images, the memories of walking over puddles and looking down into their reflections beyond my head as though to look upward at the trees and the sky above, may have been the beginnings of my interest in images and photography.


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Certainly, the play between the wetted surface and light, the changes wrought by some moisture on so many surfaces, fascinates anyone with an eye for beauty in the 21st Century.

Art has gone from being about offering up beauty in a beautiful world to the earnestness of offering up the homely or distressing in order to change the world.

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Still, art is what we decide it to be, and I offer these photos up as a way to see the art under our feet.

Ryan Gierach

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