From an overpass near Hong Kong central station, I’m stood looking down at the constant ebb and flow of the street below me. Pedestrians gather at the edge of a crosswalk waiting for the traffic to come to a halt. All at once they explode onto the painted road, dashing in all directions, scurrying like bits of data making their way across this motherboard of concrete and glass. It’s a hypnotic scene of near mechanical beauty.
The low sun stretches shadows across the ground, tantalising them with the prospect that perhaps today is the day when they’ll somehow find an opportunity to break free of their captors and disappear into the crowd, never to be seen again. Maybe there’s a place where liberated shadows gather to tell wild and exciting tales about how they escaped the people they spent a lifetime following.
Perhaps some shadows become untethered by accident in a moment of confusion at this, the most exciting and dangerous time of day for a shadow. In a moment so rare that it’s never considered, a shadow might find itself falling like a cable car plunging to the ground after an unimaginable failure of usually faultless engineering. I imagine those lost shadows wandering the earth searching for their owners, limited by the fact that are the only two-dimensional beings in this three-dimensional world.
A lone man catches my eye as he hurries across the road long after the lights have declared this forbidden. Like me he has stepped out of the machine for a moment, long enough for me to take a picture of him as his dutiful shadow before I step back into the flow of the whirling world and disappear among the souls and shadows around me.