Expat Life

Juego de sombras plays out in the late afternoon

Late afternoon light is warm and kind to most scenes. I enjoy using it to illuminate human faces and creating a particular mood since it softens the hues of the natural color palette. You can see it in this photograph of two boys playing soccer. Even the concrete and diagonal lines of the eroded ball court’s surface look better in the afternoon light.

But, what of my shadow-friends? “Who’s real and who’s not?”, my muse asked me. Their opaque blackness seems to defy the benefit of this light even though they need it to fuel their fragile lives.

It’s impossible for me to allow the flattering rays to light them, beautify them. At first they begin to grow tall and then wane and die as the sun makes its swan dive for the western horizon. They’re the shape-shifters of the minute in their special world where they are at their smallest size during mid-life. I miss their antics at night, as darkness snares their gauze-like shapes until the morning sun brings them cheerfully dancing and prancing back across my path.

Here, it’s late afternoon and my shadow friends have grown quite tall as they play ball in the abandoned schoolyard. They sense their demise drawing near and up the fervor of the game beginning to make slight contact with one another.

The shapes of the boys the shadows cast, though not real, are lovely. The warm light bathes the youthful forms. Donned in colorful uniforms and white tennis shoes, the surreal figures are fodder for the imagination of my shadow-friends.

That’s what I told my muse.

Brian Buckner

Brian Buckner
After a successful career in manufacturing, Brian Buckner sold his commercial window fabrication plant and now makes his home with his wife, Edie, in Cuenca. He is a photojournalist and writer currently producing photo essays and stories of life in Ecuador. He and his... Read More
  • Jeff Van Pelt

    Great photo.

  • Brian Buckner

    Hi Lorenzo, always great seeing your words here! Yes, you know how it usually is, but this time, the shadows have worn those boys out! I really enjoyed your synopsis of the play that was occurring, I don’t know futbol very well. Thanks for your details!