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The Sochi Project: In Conversation

On June 3, 2014, Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen joined us at our gallery to discuss The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus. The project offers an alternative perspective and in-depth reporting on the remarkable Sochi region that sits at the combustible crossroads of war, tourism, and history. They have returned repeatedly to this region since 2009 as committed practitioners of “slow journalism,” establishing a solid foundation of research on and engagement with this small yet incredibly complicated place before it found itself in the glare of international media attention.

Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen have been working together since 2007 to tell the story of Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. They returned repeatedly to this region as committed practitioners of “slow journalism,” establishing a solid foundation of research on and engagement with this small yet incredibly complicated place before it found itself in the glare of international media attention. As Van Bruggen writes, “Never before have the Olympic Games been held in a region that contrasts more strongly with the glamour of the event than Sochi. Just twenty kilometers away is the conflict zone Abkhazia. To the east the Caucasus Mountains stretch into obscure and impoverished republics such as North Ossetia and Chechnya. On the coast, old Soviet-era sanatoria stand shoulder to shoulder with the most expensive hotels and clubs of the Russian Riviera. By 2014 the area around Sochi will have been changed beyond recognition.” Hornstra’s photographic approach combines the best of documentary storytelling with contemporary portraiture, found photographs, and other visual elements collected over the course of their travels.

The Sochi Project was released via installments in book form and online, each focusing on a particular facet of the story, the geography, the people, and their history. The highlights and key elements of this extensive effort were brought together for the first time in this volume, first released in 2013 and designed by Kummer & Herrman, who have been integral to the collaboration from the outset. Now, Aperture is pleased to issue this in-demand book in a more affordably priced edition, in a slightly smaller, trim size. The Sochi Project: An Atlas ofWar and Tourism in the Caucasus offers alternative perspectives and in-depth reporting on this remarkable region, the site of the most expensive Olympic Games ever, and one that sits at the combustible crossroads of war, tourism, and history.

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