05 The Feature Photography Award 2021

Dan Balilty

Best feature photography on an international theme published in any medium

AWARD DATE: 2021

AWARD NAME: The Feature Photography Award 2021

AWARD RECIPIENT: Dan Balilty

AWARD RECIPIENT AFFILIATION: The New York Times

AWARD HONORED WORK: “Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Communities During COVID-19”

AWARD SPONSOR: Sony Electronics Inc.

Dan Balilty’s coverage of the impact of COVID-19 on an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community stands as the pinnacle of Feature Photography in 2021. Balilty was able to gain intimate access to the Haredim community in Jerusalem and spent weeks documenting their lives through the pandemic. His images portray moments of tenderness and sorrow with empathy and respect. It’s a truly immersive essay on one of the year’s most difficult topics.


Ultra orthodox Jewish men carry the body of Rabbi Yitzchok Sheiner who died from COVID-19, during his funeral in Jerusalem on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. At the height of Israel’s third coronavirus lockdown, vast crowds of ultra-Orthodox worshippers gathered in secret to mourn an esteemed rabbi, brazenly flouting a state ban on communal activity. Mobile phone footage of the scene was later leaked to major media outlets, outraging secular Israelis who watched the scene from their lock-downed homes. Photo: Dan Balilty for the New York Times


Volunteers of an ultra-Orthodox charity called Hasdey Amram visiting a COVID-19 patient, Rhamim Bar Yosef, 92, in his house in Jerusalem. Large families. Group prayer. Funerals with hundreds of mourners. Social distancing is the antithesis of ultra-Orthodox Jewish life. And when the ultra-Orthodox do fall ill with COVID-19, they often battle it at home, treated by volunteers from Hasdey Amram. Photo: Dan Balilty for the New York Times

 


Dr. Itamar Raz, working together with the charity Hasdey Amram, treats a COVID-19 patient in her house in Jerusalem Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. The story of the pandemic in Israel has in many ways been the story of a clash between the secular state and its semi-autonomous ultra-Orthodox minority, which formed roughly 13 percent of the national population, but in January 2021 accounted for 28 percent of infections. Photo: Dan Balilty for the New York Times

 


A Hasdey Amram volunteer arrives to treat a COVID-19 patient in her home in Jerusalem. Known in Hebrew as Haredim, the ultra-Orthodox have long led a life at odds with the Israeli mainstream, sometimes rejecting the very notion of the state itself. Photo: Dan Balilty for the New York Times


Hasdey Amram volunteers visit a COVID-19 patient in his house in Jerusalem. Photo: Dan Balilty for the New York Times


Bodies of COVID-19 victims are seen outside of a Jewish burial purification room setup in a special coronavirus morgue section of the Holon cemetery in central Israel, on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. Photo: Dan Balilty for the New York Times


A Hasdey Amram volunteer pauses for a moment of reflection during a house visit with a patient suffering from COVID-19 in Jerusalem on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. Photo: Dan Balilty for the New York Times


A nurse volunteer of the charity Hasdei Amram, visiting COVID-19 patients for treatment in their house in the Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea Shearim. Photo: Dan Balilty for the New York Times


Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky is the spiritual authority for hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews. Kanievsky and his grandson Yaakov (Yanki) at a rabbi's house in Bnei Brak, Israel. Photo: Dan Balilty for the New York Times


Ultra orthodox Jewish men carry the body of a rabbi who died from COVID-19, during his funeral in Jerusalem. The pandemic brought a slow-burning tension between the ultra-Orthodox and the Israeli mainstream suddenly into the open. Communal life is central to the Haredi identity: Adults study on mass in cramped seminaries, their huge families live in tiny homes, and they frequently attend mass weddings and funerals — and many were both unwilling and unable to respect the ban on gatherings and stringent isolation requirements for infected people that the pandemic necessitated. Photo: Dan Balilty for the New York Times


A woman looking over her father, a COVID-19 patient, as volunteers from the charity, Hasdei Amram,  visit him for treatment in his house in Jerusalem. Photo: Dan Balilty for the New York Times


Family members attending the Jerusalem funeral of Rivka Wertheimer, 74, who died of COVID-19. Photo: Dan Balilty for the New York Times

Citation for Excellence:
Muhammad Fadli
National Geographic
“Indonesia is a New COVID-19 Epicenter. The Peak has Yet to Come.”