Briana Blasko is a San Francisco-born portrait photographer who studied at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Before moving to India in 2008, she lived in New York for twelve years and photographed contemporary dance for the New York Times. For the past eight years, she’s been quietly crisscrossing the Indian sub-continent to document the country’s rich traditions of textiles and dance and the interplay between the two. Her work has culminated in the production of a series of photographic works, including Dance of the Weave and now a forthcoming book on the path of the Yogis.
Briana started her photographic career doing research for Annie Leibovitz and Susan Sontang on their book, Women. After three enriching years with Ms. Leibovitz she went on to produce the book, Talking Fashion, by Sarajane Hoare and later continued to produce advertisements for Conde Nast Magazines and other clients including J Crew, Calvin Klein and Apple.
Her photographs have appeared in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, NPR, The World / Public Radio International, CNN, Vogue India, Dance Magazine, Huffington Post, Hand/Eye, Selvedge, Washington Times, India Perspectives, Outlook, Ballet Magazine and Marg. She has contributed photographs to Sristi by Sharmila Desai, Cotton for the Upasana Design Studio and Book on Dance for Dorling Kindersley Publishing. From 2009-11, she worked with Harsha Dehejia on the exhibition Fabric Art of Krishna, for the Prince of Wales Museum. In 2012, she contributed to a book project documenting Yoko Ono’s visit to India. Dance of the Weave, published by Penguin Books India was released in New Delhi in December 2013. It was launched in Chennai, London and at The New York Public Library for Performing Arts at Lincoln Center in 2014.
Although much of Briana’s work is done as a solo artist, she has worked with hundreds of artists, weavers and dancers over the years. No matter the scale of production, all hand-woven work comes down to the movement of individual hands, individual feet. Her work provides a window into a fast-disappearing world of perfection in the dance between consciousness and creation, repetition and innovation.
Understanding how something is made and observing the way in which it is used in its natural context is a process that lends way to appreciation of human creativity at its deepest level. From the most exclusive fashion houses to small boutiques, to businesses that are incorporating not only the highest standards of hand-made items, but to the ethics of production, Briana Blasko’s work informs the viewer of the countless details and decisions that go into production and elevating it to a form of art.
In her forthcoming book, documenting the path of yogis, it may appear that she takes an almost completely different direction looking not at production, use, or acquisition, but the current that carries the searcher to go beyond all forms and senses, to renunciation and acceptance. It is between these two tremendous forces of creativity and experience that Briana Blasko’s work continues to evolve.
“The loveliness of her images in the book you are holding resides in their ability to share the restless conversation between body and fabric. At times, the dancer and the dance blur into one, and it becomes hard to separate the two art form – the weave and the rhythm – from each other… I fell in love with Briana’s Indigo series, the churning beauty unleashed by the indigo plant…”
“One of the many strengths of Blasko’s photography is her point-of-view that is specific and expansive, material and non-material; and the way she is able to handle both the micro and macro aspects in wonderful juxtaposition. This is difficult, as what she captures in still-frames are essentially complex movements – fluid lines of both the inherent threads of fabrics-weave and the residual time-lapse arcs of dance choreography.”
“Her images of “swirling, rushing water and the synchronized limbs of indigo workers” erases the idea of natural dyes as a easy, gentle pursuit and reveals the incredible physicality required to produce indigo. Similarly her photographs of looms underscore the intricacy of the process and the graceful movements of the weavers…. Dance of the Weave has the potential to become a classic. No other photographer has approached the vast subject of India in quite the same way.”