“Morning Prayers, 2020” by Rivki Locker

As Orthodox Jews, we pray three times daily. My husband’s custom is to pray in the synagogue for all three services, along with a ‘minyan’ – a group of ten or more congregants. He is very meticulous about this tradition and until the days of COVID had missed services at the synagogue only a handful of times (on the days our kids were born, for example!).

Now, he has been forced to pray at home for months, alone in our family room without the ‘minyan,’ the synagogue or the Torah reading. (Though our synagogue is offering in person services now after a few months’ hiatus, he is still not comfortable for health and safety reasons.)

Every morning, he does ‘tefillin’ (phylacteries) and ‘tallit’ (prayer shawl) and prays ‘Shacharit’ (the morning service) in our humble family room.

What previously was a rarely seen sight in our home, my husband praying is now an everyday sight. For us, it’s a daily reminder of the challenging times we are in and of all the changes we’ve been forced to make this year.

My favorite genre of photography is lifestyle and everyday documentary. At the beginning of our lockdown period, I captured photos daily and posted them online in a blog style format. For me, it was a way to document and share how dramatically our lives had been altered. I have photos of lots of family activities throughout the period – crafting, baking, painting, and general silliness – but none of my husband’s prayers. I’ve been wanting to photograph this for some time but thought he’d object and see it as an invasion of sorts. I was glad that he agreed happily and willingly, as I see this as perhaps the most poignant sign of these times for our family.

What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!

I love the intimacy of the photo. I shot it standing outside the room, looking in through the entrance. I took quite a few photos in the series but this is my very favorite because of that feeling of intimacy – an outsider looking in on a private moment of prayer and reflection.

I also quite like the composition and balance. The walls on either side frame it quite nicely, and the window provides a natural backdrop.

If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?

I would have loved to capture him during one of the more ‘active’ moments of his prayer. Kissing the tallit (prayer shawl) for example. Though the photo works beautifully and captures the quiet silent prayer, he feels a little removed and distant, and there are particular rituals that would be lovely to capture. There’s always tomorrow!

Rivki Locker shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.

Photographer

Rivki Locker, New Jersey, USA

INSTAGRAM

Equipment and Settings

Fujifilm X100V
f/2.5, ISO 640, 1/60 sec.


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