Sunday, July 14, 2013

Italian Secular Jewish Photographer Casts Ultra-Orthodox Women in a New Light


The world of ultra-Orthodox women can seem to be a mysterious one, when seen from the outside looking in. For documentary photographer Federica Valabrega, a secular Jew herself, her interest in this world led to a photo project which would ultimately challenge her own assumptions about these women.

Valabrega, originally from Rome, Italy, moved to Brooklyn in 2009 to photograph the women in a project that she calls Bat Melech (Daughter of the King). She was surprised to find that "Jewish women are not just at home making soup and cooking matzo balls and changing diapers. I met women who work at Goldman Sachs. I met women who have their own business."

She also traveled to Israel and France, and plans to visit Morocco and Tunisia to include photographs of religious communities in those countries.

The project will be on display in Italy and Israel later this year. She is also working on a book to accompany the exhibit.

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