Ever wish you could just stare at kids in Purim costumes without looking away? Thanks to French photographer Estelle Hanania, now you can. In her gorgeous photography book Happy Purim (Shelter Press), she selects her favorite shots from the Purims she spent wandering the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Stamford Hill in North London, photographing the homemade costumes kids wear.
There are lots of twins decked out in top hats and tails, or equestrian attire, or matching dresses and bonnets. There are a few blackface costumes (maybe they don’t know better), and some head-scratching legs-for-heads.
Many of the kids in Happy Purim dress like older versions of themselves: a rabbi with a long robe and shtreimel (fur hat), or an elderly woman with a silver wig, shawl and cane.
Hanania points out that the Hebrew word for costume – “tachposhet” – literally means “to search for oneself.” These kids are dressing up for Purim, but Hanania shows us there’s something deeper going on.
Reprinted with permission of Estelle Hanania.
March 23, 2016