Oded Wagenstein

Where the Women of Siberia Go to Die: A Photo Essay

The connection between aging, longing and memory – these are the themes Oded Wagenstein focuses on in his works. In recent years, he has met with people in various communities around the world and heard from them about memories and stories, fears and longing

In my most recent travels, I ended up at an isolated village in northern Siberia. There I met a community of older women who once belonged to a nomadic community of shepherds called Nenets. Today, as older women, they spend most of their days alone. Far from their community, the wandering and the nature they so loved. While older men are encouraged to remain in the nomadic community and maintain their social roles, women often have to cope with the challenges of aging by themselves.

In long conversations and over many cups of tea, I heard from the women about their memories, stories and longing for a period that will is far behind them. I heard about their longing for snowy landscapes, traveling, parents and spouses who are now gone.

In creating this series, I hoped that I could give a visual representation of the stories and memories of the women I've met, so that it could remain after they are gone.

Since I started working on this subject, I have learned that "aging" is not just about age. It is related to the sense of belonging and necessity we feel in our community. I think that sometimes, in the media and in the workforce, we are too focused on young generations. By so doing, we miss out on the experience, wisdom, and wonderful abilities of the older members of our social community. It's important to remember that we all grow old. And when the body betrays us and our memory becomes dull, this sense of belonging may be all that remains.

Blog editor: Daniel Tchetchik. From Exposure: Haaretz Photo Blog. Follow on Facebook

Oded Wagenstein
Oded Wagenstein
Oded Wagenstein
Oded Wagenstein
Oded Wagenstein
Oded Wagenstein
Oded Wagenstein
Oded Wagenstein
Oded Wagenstein
Oded Wagenstein
Oded Wagenstein
Oded Wagenstein
Oded Wagenstein

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