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Federica Valabrega

Daughters of the King, the Book

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In my photographs, I have sought to avoid the common stereotypes frequently attributed to Orthodox Jews. I have attempted to show aspects of these women, their most spiritual ones, those that transcend their religion and its strict rules governing the sanctity of their bodies. I chose to delve into a deeper dimension of my subjects’ holiness–one of femininity accompanying every gesture, every moment of their daily lives as religious women. In my images, head coverings, longsleeved dresses, modest skirts, and shoes ceased to be barriers to unwanted eyes, but instead became vessels, unveiling a deep, emotional access in the search for meaning as a woman.

“Daughters of the King” reveals the subtlest gestures of feminine beauty within moments of the daily lives of these women: The preparation for a wedding ceremony, the moment a mother and a daughter light candles before the beginning of Shabbat, or choosing a dress to wear for a particular occasion and combing their hair for an evening outing.

“Daughters of the King” began four years ago in New York in the streets of Crown Heights, the Lubavitch Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn, continued within the Breslov and Dati Lumi communities in Israel and the Sephardic Jews of Paris the next year and carried onward to Morocco and Tunisia within the old Jewish community of Casablanca and the folkloristic community of religious women in Djerba.

“I do not choose the women I photograph. They choose me. These women have not only ‘lent me their stories,’ they have also opened my heart to my own spirituality, revealing to me what it means to be a true Bat Melech beyond the limits of religion.”

Daughters of The King will be showing in Rome at  ETG until January 15, 2014


DAUGHTERS OF THE KING by Federica Valabrega – published by BurnBooks on November, 2013 in an edition of 1000 copies –  dimension: 300mm x 200mm (12 ” x 8 “), 88 pages plus 24 pages booklet with texts in english and italian –  – $ 40.00 – € 35,00 (excl. shipping)

Author: Federica Valabrega

Publisher: BurnBooks, 2013

Art Direction, Book Concept, Photoediting: Annalisa d’Angelo and Diego Orlando

Image Color Correction: Paolo Lecca

Book Design: Valeria Semenzato

Production manager: Diego Orlando for BurnBooks

Printing and Binding: Grafiche Antiga, Italy


DAUGHTERS OF THE KING  can now be ordered here


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Daughters of the King

Federica Valabrega




19 thoughts on “Federica Valabrega – Daughters of The King, the book”

  1. The photos are terrific and the book is very well
    The way Federica Valabrega looks at the
    Orthodox Jewish world is intense ,very deep
    but ,at the same time , simple and clear.
    It is an eye in a world that seem normal in its

  2. Amazing photos … a really amazing journey trough an unknown world, different women, different places, all linked by a strong, deep heritage.
    Something you must see to improve your knowledge of how big,and full of amazing people, the world is

  3. This book is really a precious edition. It’s accurate in every detail with quality and “feeling”. Print, paper choice, editing and design are well developed around the original work of the author

  4. Federica is a natural talent for telling stories in black and white. I followed her personal work from the very beginning and I could really see how emotionally involved she was in this project. Take a look to her beautiful pictures and follow her!

  5. Cara Federica,
    che dire..ho amato il tuo lavoro fin dall’inizio. vedevo e vedo in alcuni scatti qualcosa di grande, quel qualcosa che, senza sapere esattamente il perchè, fa dire “wow” e guardare in silenzio senza sapere cosa dire. credo che qualcosa sia grande quando ti ammutolisce. di seguito arrivano poi tutti i pensieri, il perchè, la storia, cose fondamentali per sostenere e mantenere la bellezza. ma è sempre lei che porta il mio sguardo in accordo col cuore e la mente. e le tue foto riescono a farlo in me. Saul Leiter diceva “Cerco di rispettare determinare nozioni di bellezza anche se per qualcuno si tratta di concetti vecchio stile. Certi fotografi pensano che fotografando la miseria umana puntano i riflettori su problemi seri. io non penso che la miseria sia più profonda della felicitià” e credo sia proprio così.
    quello trattato nel tuo lavoro è un tema profondo. e il rispetto e l’eleganza con il quale lo accarezzi in modo costante per tutta la sua durata, è evidente e ammirevole.
    vedere ora la mostra realizzata e soprattutto il libro mi rende davvero felice. felice di averti incontrato sulla strada.

  6. for me it’s a three layers story:

    1. Federica- combines strong individualism and independency, with deep bond to her own heritage. Adding her passion, assertiveness and sensitive character, and you have promise components for an artist.

    2. The project- the field of traditional women in a modern world has highly documented already. yet, the combination of spirituality with aesthetics is unique, along with the ability to touch their own stories from almost personal point and partnership.

    3. The exhibition and the book- as mentioned above, made professionally, with the right touch and elegancy, and of course, telling a whole story with a sequence of great images

    looking forward to your next work

  7. Straordinarie, il racconto di una quotidianità restituita al suo aspetto mitico, una ricerca che va in profondità sulla realtà delle cose per restituirne uno statuto metafisico.

  8. Frederica…

    First of all congratulations for being published with Burn. What a great honor, you’ve accomplished one of my greatest dreams. Photobooks mean so much to me, it’s one of my ways of evading and soothing the mind.
    I can see good images throughout the essay but alas, at this moment in my life I exist on a different photographic wavelength. I can sense this work is subtle, like a song whispered close to ones ear and this is what’s stops me from fully enjoying it. My wavelength is power, a shout and a uppercut straight to the jaw. However I’m going to make an effort and slow down and go through this essay daily, I suspect I can learn a lot from your way of photographing the world…

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  10. “I chose to delve into a deeper dimension of my subjects’ holiness–one of femininity accompanying every gesture, every moment of their daily lives as religious women. In my images, head coverings, long-sleeved dresses, modest skirts, and shoes ceased to be barriers to unwanted eyes, but instead became vessels, unveiling a deep, emotional access in the search for meaning as a woman.”

    Oh, come on. These women’s lives are conscripted by a paternalistic religion that slots them into a narrow existence. There is no “search for meaning as a woman.” Who they are, what they are, and how they respond to the world around them is tightly controlled by their orthodoxy.

    The photos are good. But labeling one thing as another doesn’t alter reality for these women.

  11. This is just a text. I just logged in, took some time to write a brilliant and incisive comment, clicked “submit” and then instead of it posting I got a page telling me I must be logged in to post. So I logged back in and am doing this as a test to see if it happens again. As for my comment, the original effort sapped me of all my energy. I can’t make it again. At least not today. Probably not ever. Okay, I am about to click “submit” again. Let’s see what happens…

  12. Qui sotto riporto un commento alle foto di federica valabrega da parte del pittore Napoletano Vincenzo Stiga che non ha un indirizzo email e che mi ha chiesto di usare il mio per lasciare questo commento:

    “Ad ogni tuo scatto sembra che si aprano mille diversi diaframmi a scrutare con naturalita’ santa spazi, luci e storie dell’anima. Fortunatamente per noi, vengono poi impressi sopra una materia che sembra essere stata predisposta da Rembrandt.”

  13. franco originario

    Nel Suo Libro “Daughter of the King” la fotografa Federica Valabrega esplora in un modo personalissimo Il mondo delle donne ebree ortodosse. Quello che colpisce in queste foto è la naturalezza e la profondità spirituale delle persone che occupano lo spazio dello scatto.
    Le suggestioni delle luci, l’alternarsi del chiaro e dello scuro e, le intense espressioni dei protagonisti mi ricordano (essendo chi scrive un grafico- illustratore)
    in alcune foto i quadri ricchi di pathos del Caravaggio (vedi foto libro 18,19,20,21,22 , 40 e 48) e in altre la spontaneità giornaliera di adulti e ragazzi,ritratti dal pittore illustratore statunitense Norman Rockwell (vedi foto libro 20,30,44,50,55.61).

  14. Pingback: Daughters of the king di Federica Valabrega | CAMERAOSCURA

  15. In “daughters of the king” entriamo, attraverso lo sguardo di Federica Valabrega,
    in una dimensione femminile moderna e millenaria allo stesso tempo; assistiamo ad un rito silenzioso che si svolge dietro l’immagine.

  16. Pingback: Daughters of the King by Federica Valabrega | The 37th Frame

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