Over the weekend of May 31 and June 1 at Aperture Foundation, photographer Rob Hornstra led a very informative workshop on self-publishing a photobook. Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen are the creators of The Sochi Project, a “slow journalism” series focusing on the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, and the authors of the 2013 Aperture book The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus.

At the workshop, participants learned about Hornstra’s process of financing, shooting, designing, promoting, and selling each of his self-published projects, allowing them to gain insight into the advantages and disadvantages of working as an independent book publisher. Students were also encouraged to share their own projects and were given advice on transforming their work into photobooks. The workshop ended with a discussion on the landscape of contemporary photobook publishing, which included some examples of successful and unique photobooks, and a look at the most prestigious photobook awards.


View Rob’s Workshop Instructor Profile

“The workshop helped me with my inner dialogue as a photographer.”


“The workshop was terrific. It exceeded my expectations. Rob was really great, very open and willing to answer questions no matter what they were. Rob was a great teacher.”


—Workshop participants

Rob Hornstra (born in Borne, the Netherlands, 1975) attended the Utrecht School of the Arts, the Netherlands, specializing in photographic design. He is a photographer and self-publisher of slow-form documentary work. In addition to The Sochi Project, he is the founder and former artistic director of the documentary photography organization FOTODOK, Utrecht. Hornstra’s self-published publications include The Secret History of Khava Gaisanova, KIEV, Life Here is Serious, Sochi Singers, Safety First, Empty land Promised land Forbidden land, On the Other Side of the Mountains, Sanatorium, 101 Billionaires, Roots of the Rúntur, and Communism & Cowgirls. He recently had solo exhibitions at Galerie Fotohof, Salzburg, Austria; Huis Marseille Photography Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; De Paul Art Museum, Chicago; and the FotoMuseum, Antwerp, Belgium. He is represented by Flatland Gallery, Amsterdam/Paris.

The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucacus, with photographs by Rob Hornstra and text by Arnold van Bruggen

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