This photograph communicates quite a number of the thoughts and realities I’ve referenced in previous posts. One of these is the recognition of the camaraderie and shared experience of the group of young boys standing in a circle as they share a casual moment together in the late afternoon. As a child, I yearned to have a peer group like the one shown, and in fact to this day feel a twinge of jealousy for the social bond of these boys, having grown up without a close circle of companions myself.
Another thing I notice is the lithe, physical strength of the ball players - and the fact that one of them is barefoot. In the 30+ years I’ve observed people playing sports in the United States, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single person playing basketball barefoot. It must be terrible for the feet and joints, but clearly the pain is not immediate enough to stop the individual shown from engaging in something he loves.
Finally, of course, the environment itself gives context to the activities of the people. The grasses are unkempt, and the smokestack bears testament to the type of work available and the potential for unhealthy levels of pollution. Taken together, we have a portrait of hardship and vitality, scarcity and joy, limitations transcended, at least for the moment, with grace and perhaps more than a touch of defiance.