Soccer in Sun and Shadow
In Montevideo, Uruguay in 1995, I spent a month taking photographs of the crowds at soccer matches during the prestigious Copa América soccer tournament. For Uruguayans, there was a deep resonance to the national team’s advance through the tournament, involving, as it did, an entire nation's passions; but due to the bitter legacy of a military dictatorship, it was an ambiguous, conflicted sense of patriotism. Although the military dictatorship had ended in 1984, little had happened to help Uruguayans move beyond the stark repression, violence and terror that had been widely experienced—-a rebuilding democracy with a depleted economy didn’t do enough to address the national trauma. In the tournament final, when Uruguay beat Brazil, the reigning 1994 World Cup Champions on penalty kicks, it set off a moment of profound national catharsis that represented more than a game.