Feature Photography Award 2012

Oded Balilty

Oded Balilty

AWARD DATE: 2012

AWARD NAME: Feature Photography Award 2012

AWARD RECIPIENT: Oded Balilty

AWARD RECIPIENT AFFILIATION: Associated Press

AWARD HONORED WORK: An Ultra Orthodox Wedding

Beautiful, painterly pictures that hit all the right visual notes. Great photography executed brilliantly that shows not only the photographic talent, but also the journalistic understanding of the subject and the people captured in the work.


Oded Balilty takes us inside the ultra-Orthodox world of Hasidic Jews with this grandiose ceremony, which took place over the course of a week in the small town of Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv.

On Feb. 14, hundreds were invited to the wedding hall to watch – or at least get a glimpse of – the nuptials between Nechama Paarel Horowitz and Chanaya Yom Tov Lipa, the oldest great-grandson of the head rabbi of the town’s Viznitz Hasidic community.

Balilty heard about the event the week before and talked his way into the hall.

Balilty photographed the ultra-Orthodox Jewish women from behind a high gauzy curtain, which is used to separate the sexes during the traditional wedding service.

When the curtain dropped, he captured the bride hiding her face behind a veil while holding onto a long sash during the Mitzvah tantz ritual, where the rabbi and relatives will dance in front of her.

Photo: Oded Balilty

Photo: Oded Balilty

Photo: Oded Balilty

Photo: Oded Balilty

Photo: Oded Balilty

Photo: Oded Balilty

Photo: Oded Balilty