Day for Night

“Day for night” is a cinema term that refers to shooting night scene during day time in order to save budget and have more controls over lights. At the core of its concept lays the human desire to dom

“Day for night” is a cinema term that refers to shooting night scene during day time in order to save budget and have more controls over lights. At the core of its concept lays the human desire to dominate and recreate natural phenomenon that illudes others to believe what is shown. This is how I feel about Cuba, too. The magical realism embedded in Cuba’s convoluted history makes an outsider, like me, constantly question what is the truth of everything that I have experienced so far here. The more time I spend here, the more people I talked to, the more polarized I feel about the Cuban reality, where everything seems to work in a binary system, self-conflicting but special in its own way. With two different currencies and price systems, where pesco is for the locals and the cucs for tourists; with two different jobs, one for fixed salary and the other part-time; with two views people hold toward their countries, where the optimist stays for a better future and the pessimist leaves for a better future as well. I witness the fabricated city attractions designed for outsiders and the harsh reality of life during the day; I also sense the tranquility of bedroom community and lurking violence during the night. The city is filed with unleashed wild dogs and cats, struggling for survival day and night, whereas in people's houses I also see dogs and cats are the most common pets. The cat-dog ecology forms a polarized portrait of the Cuba's new now. Within the short period of time that I stayed in Cuba, mainly Havana, I never really see but only look. (All captions are by Natalie Komissarova)

© Wenkai Wang - The thoughts we have when no one’s looking
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The thoughts we have when no one’s looking

© Wenkai Wang - Our afternoon break
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Our afternoon break

© Wenkai Wang - The hour badly spent
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The hour badly spent

© Wenkai Wang - Stage fright
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Stage fright

© Wenkai Wang - Make that to go
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Make that to go

© Wenkai Wang - Image from the Day for Night photography project
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I still remember all of my high school friends handwriting. Toni’s was round and friendly, Mia’s was kind of phony, Sara’s was flirty Nathalie’s was edgy and mostly illegible. And then there were the boys. Alex A., Aydan, Ezra, Vincent, Livio - theirs looked all the same: sloppy. Only Alex B’s handwriting was curvy, like a girl’s. I wish I could see them all one more time.

© Wenkai Wang - Image from the Day for Night photography project
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Fatal attraction. Why can’t I be more self-assured when you walk through the door? I fantasize sometimes that (if I really wanted) I could make you stay. But oh, how short- lived is my certainty — I’d rather not offend. No, I’d rather be a careful one and step on my own tail.

© Wenkai Wang - Let’s not be nice for once
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Let’s not be nice for once

© Wenkai Wang - No audience
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No audience

© Wenkai Wang - Image from the Day for Night photography project
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I got tired after a few blocks. I passed some kids playing soccer in the street, an old woman pointing at me from around the corner and a very skinny, very pretty girl, capturing yet another nuance of sadness. I remembered Maria. I regretted not taking the bus but kept walking — I was not in a rush. Then I remembered a song and started whistling, then humming and then I walked under a lantern caught in a tree crown and the shadow it threw was really all it took to bring me back. I got on the next bus and was in bed by midnight.

© Wenkai Wang - Image from the Day for Night photography project
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It all happened very quickly: Everyone said their farewells, dispersed and all of a sudden: loneliness. I wasn’t ready to go home. I was craving excitement, a twist of fate, all of it at once and without delay. I looked to my right and I looked to my left — nothing. I decided to walk home.

© Wenkai Wang - In the middle of something
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In the middle of something

© Wenkai Wang - Image from the Day for Night photography project
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We called him Uncle Dad. He wasn’t our dad and he wasn’t our uncle but somehow he was to be both combined. Just look at his little face. Say „Hey, Uncle Dad!“ But don’t expect him to respond.

© Wenkai Wang - Image from the Day for Night photography project
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We sit in the kitchen and hear the vending machines buzz in the hallway. You get up to get another beer from the fridge but there is none left and I don’t warn you. I wish that you were someone else and though it’s not your fault, right there in that moment, I cannot stand you.

© Wenkai Wang - Chinese Opera singer Carmen is on an empty stage.
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Chinese Opera singer Carmen is on an empty stage.

Day for Night by Wenkai Wang

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