Born into Brothels: Photographs by the Children of Calcutta

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9781884167454: Born into Brothels: Photographs by the Children of Calcutta

A powerful story that unfolds in the red-light district of Calcutta: a photographer that becomes a teacher and the extraordinary children she meets who learn to dream with cameras in their hands. Accompanies an Academy Award-winning documentary.

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About the Author :

Zana Briski studied documentary photography at the International Center of Photography, New York. In 1995 Briski made her first trip to India, producing a story on female infanticide, and returned in 1997 to begin a project on the prostitutes of Calcutta's red-light district. She has received numerous fellowships, including an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and awards, including the first prize at the World Press Photo contest. She has conducted a series of photographic workshops with children of prostitutes in Calcutta since 2000. The children's photographs were auctioned at Sotheby's in New York in 2001 and presented in Amnesty International's 2003 calendar. In 2002 Briski and codirector Ross Kauffman received grants from the Sundance Institute, the Jerome Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts for their documentary film on the children of Calcutta's prostitutes, Born Into Brothels. Briski is the found of Kids with Cameras, a nonprofit organization formed to empower marginalized children worldwide through learning the art of photography. She lives in New York. Kids with Cameras is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering children through photography. The organization changes children's lives by teaching them the art and skills of photography on an individual basis, and provides support for their general education.

From Publishers Weekly :

Eight children, all raised in brothels in Calcutta's red light district, display their work-colorful photographs of the family members and strangers who populate their lives and of the streets and homes which they inhabit-in this companion volume to the Academy Award nominated documentary Born into Brothels. While the poverty that these children experience is always present in the images, the photographs diverge from the expected sordid scenes; instead they capture a wide variety of moods and circumstances. The images-from a shot of a young girl apathetically stretched out on a car to a sweeping panorama of the rooftops of Calcutta to a close-up self-portrait of an exuberant girl yelling at the camera at dusk-appear impressively professional. The children capture the textures surrounding them beautifully, often with a seemingly intuitive sense of composition. The film the book accompanies follows the story of Briski's attempts to teach photography to these children, who, she says, have "little possibility of escaping their mother's fate or for creating another type of life," and this volume includes writing by both Briski and the film's co-director, as well as stills from the documentary. Demonstrating the way in which photography can be a means of hope and an "immensely liberating and empowering force," the book gives these children, the "most stigmatized people in Calcutta's red light district," a means to share their often ignored perspectives, while also allowing readers a glimpse into the emotional depths of their lives.
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