is from Deborah Samuel's latest creation, Elementals — a body of work 10 years in the making.
Imagine Elementals as an epic visual poem — an odyssey traditionally only ascribed to Homer describing the travels of Odysseus during his 10 years of wandering. It unfolds with six striking manifestations of nature’s phenomena, starting with rain observed in Ireland, New Mexico, and California.
Deborah has directed the work personally to display on smartphones from iPhone 7 to the newest version, iPads, MacBook Pros, iMacs, and Mac Pro displays.
“When the thunder roars in the distance, I get shudders down my spine. When the rain droplets sing, I feel peace and find myself reminisce, and introspect of falling in love."
— Deborah Samuel
"There was blue, it seemed magical. ...Most beautiful blue with pink dissolving through the blue sky, it was all so still."
Cultural attitudes toward rain differ across the world. Rain can bring joy. Many have found it to be soothing and enjoy the aesthetic appeal. In dry places, rain lifts people's moods. Many people find the scent during and immediately after rain pleasantly distinctive. The source of this scent is petrichor, an oil produced by plants, absorbed by rocks and soil, and released into the air during rainfall.
Cultural and religious
Wu Shamans in ancient China performed sacrificial rain dance ceremonies in times of drought. Various Native American tribes are known to have historically conducted rain dances in effort to encourage rainfall. In the present-day United States, various states have held Days of Prayer for rain, including New Mexico.
"It says everything. I was watering the horses early in the morning and there was a fog that just sat over the land. It was exactly like that."
The ancient Sumerians believed rain was the semen of the sky-god An, which fell from the heavens to inseminate his consort, the earth-goddess Ki, causing her to give birth to all the plants of the earth. The Akkadians believed the clouds were the breasts of Anu's consort Antu and rain was milk from them.
According to Jewish tradition
In the first century BC, the Jewish miracle-worker Honi ha-M'agel ended a three-year drought in Judaea by drawing a circle in the sand and praying for rain, refusing to leave the circle until his prayer was granted.
"It was an afternoon storm. It was strange because the sun was shining and it was raining, and that’s kind of unusual."
It wasn’t something extraordinary to be able to communicate with the cosmic force and command the elements. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius preserved a prayer for rain made by the Athenians to the Greek sky-god Zeus.
Rain over land
"I was driving over a hill to Albuquerque when I saw this isolated squall developing far in the distance. I pulled over on the highway and took it."
"Rossbeigh Beach is on the West coast of Ireland. It was at the end of the day. The setting sun washed over the landscape and everything went pink. It was for only two minutes where this culmination of all elements came together to create this photograph."
The Setswana word for rain, pula, is used as the name of the national currency, in recognition of the economic importance of rain in the country.
Many African cultures practice rainmaking — climate change rituals that attempt to invoke rain. Among the best known examples of weather modification rituals are rain dances historically performed by many Native American tribes, particularly in the southwestern United States. Some of these rituals are still implemented today in the Sonora Desert and Great Basin.
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