(Photographs) Daughters of the King (Federica Valabrega)


Very cool pictures of orthodox women by Italian born, Brooklyn based photographer Federica Valabrega. Based on the traditionalist notion that the “kavod” of the King’s daughters is inside, the idea was to get at what Valbrega saw as the spiritual side of women’s lives “beyond” religion and the strict laws regarding the “holiness of the body.” In a world without men, these are supposed to be pictures of “emancipated women within a rigid religion.”

I think what makes the photographs work so well is the intimate relation between the photographer and her subjects, or rather the comfort of the subjects with the camera. The image is that of an everyday cast of life, women and girls in a world of their own, almost cast-off, luminous, and isolate. Technically-technologically what makes these photographs work is the close-up framing of so many of these shots, the way the camera draws up close to a subject, along with the strong flash-work of light surrounded by dark shadows. Inside the picture, the surrounding environment feels cave-like. The illumination itself feels like it was drawn out from some inside place.

You can find information about Daughters of the King here at Burn Magazine, in Hebrew at Haaretz, and this two-part interview with Valagrega at Juliet Art Magazine. Different photographs seem to be featured at each site. I recommend that you view the slideshows at full screen.




About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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