Max Sher – The Wedding of a Man Who Once Nearly Drowned in his Bathtub
When I first met Alex about 10 years ago, he told me he was gay. He spoke rare languages and worked as an interpreter. After a while, he confessed he had many masks to hide his loneliness and his ‘homosexuality’ was merely one of them (in fact, he wasn’t at all gay). We shared a flat for some time. Alex liked to take baths at night and once nearly drowned because he fell asleep in the bathtub.
One day, he discovered his father (whom he never saw) was probably Jewish. He began his quest for his Jewish roots, married a Jewish girl with a kid, learnt Hebrew, changed his name to Nathan and emigrated to Israel. Once there, he took jobs as IT engineer, traveled on business to such uncommon places as Ethiopia and Tanzania. Then his wife divorced him. He quit his IT career because it sucked, becoming a security guard. He still pays alimony for ex-wife’s son he considers his.
About a year ago, his younger sister introduced him via Skype to her roommate Nadya, an ethnic Bulgarian from the poor ex-Soviet republic of Moldova. Nadya was born in a small town and at the age of 17 left home to seek happiness in Moscow, then St. Petersburg. She studied then changed many low-pay jobs as ‘guest worker’.
Now, after a year of their Skype romance, Alex-Nathan traveled to Moldova to marry Nadya in her home-town. He invited me to take pictures of the wedding; he needed them to prove to Israeli bureaucracy their marriage wasn’t a fake one and he can bring his new wife to Israel.
Freak life goes on.
Born in St. Petersburg, raised in Siberia and educated in Siberia and France, Max took up photography in 2006. His work, personal and commissioned, has since appeared in Courrier International, Monocle, Esquire (Russia), le Monde, Ogoniok, Independent Magazine, Afisha, Bolshoi Gorod, Russian Reporter, Snob, GEO Traveler, etc., as well as in photography publications including Foto8, Private, Fraction Magazine, Flak Photo, Unless You Will, Timemachine, LPV, to name a few. It was exhibited in St. Petersburg, Vienna, Moscow, Bratislava, etc. Max was nominated for KLM Paul Huf Awards in 2008.
He is currently based in Moscow.