Agnieszka Traczewska placed second in National Geographic’s International Photography Contest for a photo taken at a Hasidic wedding.
Aron and Rivkah Krauss were photographed after the Huppah in Mea Shearim, an ultra-orthodox district of Jerusalem. As their marriage was arranged by their parents, the newlyweds had seen each other only once before accepting the matrimony proposal and had to remain apart until the wedding ceremony.
Fascinated with Hasidic culture, Agnieszka Traczewska -a professional photographer and film producer - has been capturing the lives of orthodox Jews for the last 9 years. She feels ‘drawn by a world in which significant matters are taken seriously. The photographer admits it was not easy to get through to such a closed community. I used my honesty and patience to consecutively cross limits which initially could have seemed insuperable.’
Some of the barriers could not be overcome – access to places of prayer is strictly limited. Shooting through tiny windows of ohalim and synagogues inclined the artist to search for metaphors rather than illustrations.
Photography is a powerful tool for showing the ways that people around the world are clearly different but in many ways the same. The Orthodox fur hat and wedding dress are clues that this picture was taken in a very distinctive place. But the smile and laughter of the bride and groom indicate that these are teenagers reacting to a new situation, Dan Westergren shared his thoughts on the second-place winner.
This year’s edition received 18,000 submissions. The second place in the contest won her a five-day National Geographic photography workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
To see more of Agnieszka Traczewska’s works, visit the artist’s website.
Translated by Kasia Dolato 7/8/2014