– THE VOID WE LEAVE –
An Interview with ODED WAGENSTEIN
by Omri Shomer
Oded Wagenstein, A professional and unique photographer, while most of us photograph what we see Oded strives to capture emotions.
Hello Oded, Thank you for this Interview, Please tell us a bit about the project
The “Void we leave” is an ongoing project I started back in 2014 in Cuba and it tells the story of an aging community, living in an ancient town in the central part of the island.
For me, this project deals with one of the most absurd issues in our existence here – the thought that one day we will not be here, forever! Leaving only a void between two walls and some personal objects.
Please tell us what led you to photograph this special project?
Chance encounters with one of the members of this aging community that led me to take my first steps into their daily life. At first, I did not plan it would become a series of images or a photography project. I just liked the idea of spending time with those people and hearing their nostalgic stories. Only after a while, when I showed some of the portraits I took there (again, without any particular intention) to my friends back at home, I realized I might have a base for a story I want to tell.
Do you remember one special moment that moved you?
One of the first people I have met in this community was Delphin (dressed as a Captain). He lived in a small hut surrounded by icons of Lenin and Marx, And when I came to see him, I always felt like I was going back in time. Recently, I went to visit him again (as part of my regular visits to the community), but the hut was empty, and his brother told me Delphin passed away. The brother told me by taking his thumb and putting it around his neck in a cutting motion. I was in shock. I’ve seen a lot of friends passing away in this community, but I always thought that Delphine would live forever. Obviously, this is a stupid and incorrect thought. But that’s how I felt at that moment.
Finally, after a while you walked into empty houses, these particular friends have passed away, with what fears you have confronted?
I do not know if confronted is the right word. I would prefer to use the word encountered. The fears I encountered. Again, it is not that I discovered that there is the death in this world, like a child who discovers there is no Santa Claus. It’s just the absolute meaning of not being here, forever. I think this is something the human mind can’t actually understand the word “forever”.