Zana Briski

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Zana Briski
Zana Briski.jpg
Born October 25, 1966
Residence New York
Nationality English and American
Alma mater University of Cambridge, International Center of Photography
Occupation Photographer and Filmmaker
Known for Born into Brothels
Website and

Zana Briski[1] (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,[2] 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.[3] 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[4] 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[5] in 2010.

Briski has won numerous awards and fellowships including the George Soros's Open Society Institute Fellowship, an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship[6] in 2000 to research and photograph in the Brothels of India, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, the Howard Chapnick Grant,[7] and first prize in 1999 in the World Press Photo foundation competition in the category "Daily Life stories".[8] Briski and co-director Ross Kauffman were awarded grants from the Sundance Institute, the Jerome Foundation,[9] and the New York State Council on the Arts for Born into Brothels.


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