life is incredibly, stupendously weird.
The woman in the photo is Zana Briski. But I knew her when she was Susanna Briski, a hip London Jewish chick, while I attended boarding school in Britain years ago. And something about Susanna changed my life entirely. She stole my then-boyfriend. All three of us listened to Sisters of Mercy and Lords of the New Church (music bands, people). In fact, Susanna stomped right into a Lords show in Camden once while I was there. My friends thought she was trying to invade my territory. Sympathetic, they protected me. Who did she think she was? In return, I decided to become an super-hip-Jewish chick, like Susanna. Who was going to have all this One Upmanship?
[people, we were teenagers, okay?]
I later found out - via the ex-boyfriend who now lives in Toronto, Canada - something awful and life-changing occurred when Susanna, years later, was on a trip abroad. On the surface I felt bad for her, but secretly thought, "Well, there's her karma." So funny how we think when we're incredibly self-absorbed and young and narely 25.
Last night, I watched Born into Brothels. I invited A to watch with me. Nothing in the film is too hard to watch; it's actually hard to not watch this film. We saw unfold the story of young kids growing up despite that their mamas work the work, while the kids somehow found ways to laugh, play, and to be witty and wise.
Alexander was really moved. So was I.
Behind the work was Susanna - now Zana - Briski. I was good seeing her again, if only on celluloid, and I had absolutely no idea that this was her film, or that she had won a little golden statuette for her work. And now Zana's foundation, Kids with Cameras, is spreading all over the globe.
Here's to your karma, Zana. LaMai is profoundly inspired by you.
If you choose to purchase a photograph by one of the kids, you can do so here. It is a way by which the kids can sustain themselves and their education, not rely on handouts, and it keeps them out of the brothels.