Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Born into brothels

I recently watched an incredible documentary called "Born into brothels" and I highly recommend it.

In 1997, Zana Briski, a photographer, decided to spend some time in the red light district of Calcutta, to work on a project on prostitutes living in the brothels. She ended up becoming fascinated by the children of these prostitutes, who also lived in the brothels. She decided to give a few of these children photography lessons, and even managed to give them each a camera of their own, encouraging them to take their own pictures. The results are stunning. Some of these kids really do have an undiscovered talent.

But beyond the pictures, what really touched me was the kids...it's their tears and their smiles, their wisdom and their innocence, their dreams and their fears, the sadness in their eyes, the cruel and harsh world they live in, and the incredible optimism that puts everything into perspective.

It was really an eye-opening documentary. And after watching it, I realized that our world is not all that bad. And that we can make a difference, as cliché as that sounds. And that it's the little things that really matter. All these kids needed was someone that would give them a chance. And Zana Briski did just that. By simply giving them a camera, she was able to make a difference in their lives. She was able to bring hope into their lives. She was able to make them realize that just because they were born into brothels doesn't mean they should remain there for the rest of their lives.

Zana Briski has since created a foundation called "Kids with Cameras", a non-profit organization that teaches the art of photography to marginalized children in communities around the world.

1 comment:

nzm said...

Awesome post!

Kids love cameras - that's how I started out at the tender age of 5, photographing the milk truck coming down the road with my father's camera. Imagine his surprise when he had the film developed! lol.

We had a great experience on Jabal Shams in Oman with the kids that we met in one of the small villages up there. They grabbed our cameras and snapped away - took some really great images too! We were happy to let them do it as it gave them so much pleasure and fun, and it didn't cost us 10dirham per shot that the families were asking for each photo that we took! We made up for it in other ways as we came away with so many of their rugs and bracelets that they persuaded us to buy!

The movie is on our "must-see" list as we had heard a lot about it.

We're picking it up on our next trip to the US.

Thanks for the info on Zana'a foundation. I'll look into it when I'm not at work! :-)