The Void We Leave

PhotographerOded Wagenstein
PrizeHonorable Mention
City/Countrykefar sirkin, Israel
Entry Description

How does it feel to get older? What do we leave here as we depart from this world? Why am I so obsessed with these question? A chance encounter in the year of 2014, led me to meet the members of an aging community, living in a crumbly apartment complex in the town of Cienfuegos, in central Cuba. Although approximately sixty years of age separate us, we created a bond, and I returned to visit them few times per year since then, witnessing them as their country was drastically changing around them. The photo-taking was just a small fraction of the time we spent, I helped carry groceries; we saw Telenovelas together, and mainly, despite a language barrier, we talked. We talked about our fears as Delphin (seen in picture 2) once told me: "There is no more time for dreams to fulfill, places to visit, soon I will leave. Leaving behind only the void between the walls." Most of the people in this project are no longer alive. Today I understand the urge I had to take their portrait in the first place. I was hoping that the camera, with its remarkable ability to freeze time, can help me to remember them. A small win in a hopeless war against aging and time.

About Photographer

Born in the Middle East to a family of migrants from the Balkans, Oded Wagenstein (1986) uses the photographic medium to explore the themes of Aging, Longing, and Memory. His work has been published in BBC, National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler among others. He published three books. Working with JDC-ESHEL, part of a global NGO advocating for the elderly, creating a ground for a better intergenerational understanding and bond. He is also a senior lecturer at the Galitz School of Photography, based in Tel Aviv, where he teaches thousands of students, both Jews and Muslims to use