Zana Briski (born October 25, 1966) is a photographer and filmmaker best known as the director of Born into Brothels, the 2004 winner of the Academy Award for Documentary Feature. Her belief in the power of art to transform lives—for both artist and viewer—led her to found Kids with Cameras, a non-profit organization that teaches the art of photography to marginalized children in communities throughout the world.
Briski's interest in photography began at age 10. After earning a master's degree at the University of Cambridge, Briski studied documentary photography at International Center of Photography in New York. In 1995, she made her first trip to India, producing a story on female infanticide. In 1997, Briski returned to India and began her project on the prostitutes of Calcutta's red-light district, which led to her work with the children of prostitutes. Her latest project Reverence is an experiential multimedia exhibit about transformation. Inspired by dreams of a praying mantis, Briski was led around the world to collaborate with living insects, taking their portraits in photographs and film. “My work is a tribute to insects, to their intelligence, personality and elegant beauty,” she says. The project raised initial funds through the crowdsourcing site Kickstarter in 2010.