Zana Briski is a New York photojournalist who went to India in 1995 to document the plight of women in a patriarchal society. In 1998 she encountered the prostitutes working in the red light district of Calcutta. She moved in with them and got to know their routines.
She also got to know their children, who went to school sporadically if at all. This didn’t bode well for the boys, who already had limited prospects, but it was even worse for the girls, who were merely being groomed to go “onto the line” as prostitutes themselves. The children—ranging in age from ten to 14—were fascinated by Briski’s photography, so she bought a number of inexpensive cameras for them to use themselves. Briski also held classes in photography.
It was about this time that Briski got in touch with Ross Kauffman, a New York editor-cameraman, who traveled to Calcutta to help Briski record these remarkable children and their last-gasp effort at finding some meaning in their lives.