In defense of making out in public / by Bear Guerra

The central plazas of Latin American cities and towns are there for people to come together, whether it be parents chasing their kids chasing pigeons, or old men sitting on benches listening to a soccer game on tiny, battery-powered transistor radios. Plazas, parks, and alleys can also be intimate spaces — and when the people who move through them are young, and in love, a heavily transited street can become as private as people wish them to be. 

As a kid growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, I remember checking out young couples at the plaza with some envy. They would hold hands, sitting side by side on a bench, even kissing or laying on the grass together, without even noticing my stare. This was their right, and the rest of us, young or old, seemed to be there to indulge in watching them. If we were lucky, we’d be the ones making out with someone on that same bench the next day.

And now, three decades later, it’s refreshing to see this tradition hasn’t gone out of style in cities like Quito. Here’s a young couple that Bear photographed recently, clearly in love.