Photographer Rob Hornstra and journalist Arnold van Bruggen have been collaborating since 2009 to document the turbulent region of Sochi, Russia. Over the course of five years and eleven visits, they practiced a form of “slow journalism” in order to delve deeply into the area’s complexities, and its remarkable transition in preparation to host the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. A subtropical resort on the Black Sea, Sochi lies in close proximity to conflict zones and impoverished, unstable republics, making it full of contradictions. Not surprisingly, Hornstra and van Bruggen met with closed border crossings and overzealous law enforcement officers in the process of developing this project, and nearing its end, they were denied entrance to Russia.
Through photographs, texts, videos, and books, Hornstra and van Bruggen draw viewers into the story of Sochi, focusing on evocative individual narratives that collectively chronicle larger issues. Along with their book of the same title, The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus, this exhibition unpacks the story of Russia’s continuing search for a post-Soviet identity.
Organized by Aperture Foundation, New York and The Sochi Project Made possible, in part, with generous support from Mondriaan Funds and the Consulate General of the Netherlands