An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus
Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen have been working together since 2009 to tell the story of Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. They have 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 finds 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 kilometres away is the conflict zone Abkhazia. To the east the Caucasus Mountains stretch into obscure and impoverished republics such as North Ossetia and Chechnya.”
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 highlights and key elements of this extensive effort are brought together for the first time in this volume, offering alternative perspectives and in-depth reporting on this remarkable region, the site of the most expensive Olympic Games, which sits at the combustible crossroads of war, tourism, and history.
The scope of the project, its breadth, is in full glory omnipresent in this record of the region. All stories gathered over five years come together in this monumental hardcover publication. We need to appoint also the role and involvement of Aperture as a publisher. Their participation and engagement not only increased the reach of this story significantly. They became also a highly valuable partner. In our numerous talks and discussion, but also editorially and production wise. Beyond it’s physical heft with over 400 pages it’s truly a milestone. This book is a real reward for 5 years of dedication.