The light here in Cuenca is fickle at best.
Light for a photographer is the most critical element and it comes in various qualities. The atmospherics here are most often cloudy for several days running. Then, the sun peeks out a little. By the time you and your gear are ready to compose, create, and record, the rain begins. If you are not prepared, with camera in hand, more often than not you will have lost the fight without ever entering the ring.
In this case, the sun has indeed set. However, it continues to offer a little bounce light to the clouds as a storm finishes blowing itself out. In the background, the shadows falling across the Caja range of the Andes, are reminiscent of the “purple mountain majesties” Katharine Lee Bates wrote about in her poem published in 1895.
On the outskirts of town, tiny fragments of light begin to spring forth from humble dwellings. They are quickly swallowed by the softness of the approaching evening. Workers for the tranvía project are in the streets laboring, even though it’s late. Cars honk and pedestrians dodge them looking for sundries and food along the way. Santo Domingo towers over Gran Colombia with a presence suggestive of the castle at Disney World; it’s quite fairy tale like except it is real and much more beautiful. Inside, the worshipers raise their joyful voices to God as the street food vendors prepare for their exodus when mass has finished.
Not one of them knows. No, none, not one. A few blocks away an hombre hangs precariously from a window, eighty feet above the street in El Centro, composing a photograph of a most beautiful night arriving in the city of Cuenca. They don’t know that his body is suspended precariously in the enveloping coolness of night air supported only by an arrangement of leather belts. For him, it’s worth it as safety must at times take a back seat to art and its compositions.
Later that evening, when the city is quiet and Cuencanos and gringos have all gone to bed, the hombre sits before his Mac. His fingers dance along the keyboard, following the rhythmic softness of a samba playing quietly through the laptops speakers. With love and respect for the opportunity to again create, to express, he milks the last vestige of goodness from his composition. His only pauses are to brush from the keyboard the sugar from the empanada he clutches as his midnight snack.