Lyon, France : Puddle Photography


When the rain falls and reality splits as you kneel to the ground.

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Lyon, France - Place Neuve Saint-Jean in a puddle
Lyon, France – Place Neuve Saint-Jean in a puddle

As I had written in a previous article (Puddle Photography in Lyon, France), I’ve spent most of my time lately exploring the joys and sometimes, unfortunately, failures, of puddle photography.

The idea of taking pictures of reflections in puddles is pretty original and fun to put into practice. It came to me while browsing on my Instagram feed. Some very talented photographer from Lyon had taken an amazing photo of the Ferris wheel which is located on Place Bellecour every winter. The giant wheel was reflecting in a puddle, just after what looked like a heavy rain, judging by the grey clouds in the sky. It inspired me, and made me want to explore this kind of photography.

In Lyon, this new way of discovering the city helped me take pictures of places I liked but didn’t know how to photograph without getting a boring result. It’s fantastic how reflections can add some poetry to a picture and a place. Somehow, I like how it instantly creates a second world, and all the magic that surrounds it. You don’t always realise where reality is at first sight, and when you do, you can also wonder whether you prefer the reflection, or the original. Do you prefer the higher part of the photo, reality, or do you want to escape in the lower part, take a deep dive into an illusory and impermanent world which will dry out as soon as the sun will shine again high in the sky ?

All in all, I really like the results one can obtain using puddles to create reflections. The photos are quite mesmerising, disturbing to the eye and the mind sometimes. The feeling of perfect symmetry which allures to the rational mind, and the impression of being lost between reality and an image of it, can have quite a striking effect. And as always with photography, I like the fact that it shows, one more time, that the most interesting place to give a look is not always where you believe : sometimes, you’ve got to kneel to the damp ground to pick up gold.

In this article, you can find three pictures from Vieux Lyon, the old District of Lyon. The first one is my favourite. It’s a place I love, but have always found hard to photograph with some originality. This puddle reflection adds some magic to a place that already had much. The second photo was taken Place du Change. It shows Maison Thomassin, which is one of the oldest and most illustrious houses of Vieux Lyon. On the main facade, you can find the coats of arms of Charles the VIII, who stopped by Lyon during the French invasion of Italy at the end of the 15th century, those of his wife Anne de Bretagne, whose union with the French king sealed the union between the indomitable Duchy of Brittany and France. Last, the third photo was taken in Rue Tramassac, which used to be much longer and richer than it is now, before it almost entirely disappeared in a landslide in 1930. Forty people met their death in these tragic events.

As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and the photos of course.

Lyon, France - Maison Thomassin in a puddle
Lyon, France – Maison Thomassin in a puddle
Lyon, France - Rue Tramassac
Lyon, France – Rue Tramassac