"Beyond Sochi": Thomas Dworzak on Assignment for NatGeo

A Discussion with Thomas on what lies behind the Olympics at Sochi

Friday, January 31
7:00pm to 8:00pm
Tribeca - New York
Past
Traditional Salon

    What lies behind the Olympic aura at Sochi?
    Explore the crossroads between the life of an artist and photojournalist. What does it mean to be tasked with telling an ambitious visual story?

    About two years ago, award winning Magnum photographer Thomas Dworzak received an assignment from National Geographic asking him to explore the backdrop of the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi. Even before the recent political developments, it was a complex endeavor considering just how multifaceted the story is: The games as Putin's pet project, the forgotten Circassian Genocide, the Islamic terror threat, revival of aggressive Russian nationalism, the occupied Georgian territory of Abkhazia, hundreds of thousands of Georgian IDPs, etc.  With the opening ceremonies just weeks away, Thomas is publishing "Beyond Sochi" with writer William Dunbar -- a non-traditional "book" that exists as the consummatory embodiment of this work. 

    This salon will be both a NY book-launch and an edifying meditation on process, offering a behind-the-scenes look at what it means to be tasked with telling an ambitious visual story at the highest level. More than an insider's peek into the life of a professional photojournalist and the world of old-school editorial photography, the salon will explore the crossroads between art and journalism, that grey area of image making that Magnum photographers often find themselves occupying. 

    Ticket to the Salon includes:

    • Presentation of Thomas' project led by Lauren Simon and Gideon Jacobs of Magnum
    • One hour discussion with Thomas and only 40 other guests
    • Opportunity to purchase a limited edition copy of "Beyond Sochi"
    Jbenegfwzsjobxfekpwl

    About the artist

    Thomas Dworzak

    Thomas Dworzak was born in Kötzting, Germany, in 1972 and grew up in the small town of Cham in the Bavarian Forest. Towards the end of his high school studies, he began to travel and photograph in Europe and the Middle East. Living in Avila, Prague and Moscow, he studied Spanish, Czech and Russian. After photographing the war in former Yugoslavia, he lived in Tbilisi, Georgia from 1993 until 1998 where he documented the conflicts in Chechnya, Karabakh and Abkhazia as well as working on a larger-scale project about the Caucasus region and its people, which was published in 2011 as the book "Kavkaz".

    Affiliated with the Paris based photo agency "Wostok Press" he covered the Kosovo crisis, mostly for US News and World Report, and returned to Chechnya the same year. After the dramatic fall of Grozny in early 2000 he began a project on the impact of the war in Chechnya on the neighboring North Caucasus. He also photographed events in Israel, the war in Macedonia, and the refugee crisis in Pakistan.

    Dworzak became a Magnum nominee in 2000 and a member in 2004.

    Since 2000 he has been based again in Moscow and after 9/11, he spent several months in Afghanistan on an assignment for the New Yorker, which led to the book "Taliban".

    The decade after 9/11 Dworzak extensively covered the ensuing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and it's impact on US politics. This led to the book M*A*S*H* IRAQ.

    He covered these and the main international news stories in Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Lebanon, Haiti, Chad, C.A.R, Ethiopia and the revolutions in the former Soviet republics of Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and stories from the Ukraine and Iran mainly for TIME Magazine and The New Yorker.

    The assignments in Iran led to the project "Valiasr Avenue" about Tehran's longest street, which is still in progress.

    In 2008-2009 Thomas Dworzak returned to Georgia for the Magnum Group project "Georgian Spring". He started working on a new project on the Caucasus and spent 2011 situated in Afghanistan.

    Besides his projects in the Caucasus he continues to cover news stories, such as the "Arab Spring" in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, the Russian elections and the run up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

    Exhibitions
    2013 "Instagram Collection", Tbilisi
    2011/12 "August 2012 - 3D", Nitendo, Paris
    2012 Frontline - (Group Show), Duesseldorf
    2010/12 Kavkaz - Paris, Tbilisi, Thessaloniki, Moscow
    2009 Georgian Spring, (Magnum Group Show) Berlin, Madrid, Munich, Paris, New York
    2006 Katrina (Group Show), Groenigen, The Netherlands 
    2004/05 Off Broadway, New York, Arles, Berlin
    2000 The Fall of Grozny, Visa pour l’Image, Perpignan
    1997/98 Caucasus, Galerie Génériques, France; Maison Robert Doisneau, Gentilly, France
    1995 La Vie comme dans un Miroir, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland

    Books
    2011 Kavkaz, Schilt Publishing, Amsterdam
    2007        M*A*S*H Iraq, Trolley, London
    2003        Taliban, Trolley, London

    Awards
    2005        Picture of the Year International Award
    2003        POYs
    2002        POYs
    2001        World Press Photo (Spot News Story, 1st prize), Amsterdam, Netherlands
    2001        Prix Bayeux , France
    2001        Prix Terre d’Images Scoop d’Angers, France
    2000        Prix Kodak, Kodak Young Photographer of the Year

    Feedback on this curatorFeedback from this Salon

    I had a great time. there are a great many museums that offer that host gallery talks and i think that the social aspect of gertrude is what sets it apart. there is no risk the entire group will be composed of mid-western 60 year old tourists. this to me is what makes gertrude worth paying for and gives it a competitive advantage over free gallery talks at local museums. one wondering i had was it seemed like at every question that looked for significance or symbolism in his work or how he placed it on a page, he demurred and suggested that there was not any beyond the most general claim that he thought it was a good photo. if this was really how he felt then i deeply appreciated his honesty. in a world that is so scripted he was refreshing. if on the other hand there was a great deal of significance and symbolism, maybe he would have benefitted from being provided with guidelines in advance, around which he could organize his thoughts.

    Part 2 hi. i just left feedback-and had a second thought. it could be that the artist demurred in finding significance within each actual photograph and/or how he laid them out because his implicit thesis was the act of taking the photos (and not the photos themselves) was significant. if this is the case please ignore my previous suggestion.

    Wonderful salon. my only complaint was that it was freezing in the gallery, which would have been fine otherwise.

    The guest was very thorough with sharing his thoughts. overall, the salon could have been more engaging and moderated a little better.

    The event was terrific. really. as a big fan of dworzak, i loved it. i actually wish it were a little longer -- perhaps two hours, with a ten minute break in between? i would love to attend more talks with photographers from magnum. but i am coming from a distance, and wonder if events could be scheduled on weekends? vikbehl@gmail.com

    I love the idea of gertrude, and i'm pleased to have heard thomas dworzak and been able to have a brief chat with him (and pick up his new book), but overall, the experience was a bit of a non-starter. there was also a feeling that a majority of the people in attendance were with gertrude or magnum, or friends of, which created a sort of false community. $30 for "access" to this? not worth it.


    I had a great time. there are a great many museums that offer that host gallery talks and i think that the social aspect of gertrude is what sets it apart. there is no risk the entire group will be composed of mid-western 60 year old tourists. this to me is what makes gertrude worth paying for and gives it a competitive advantage over free gallery talks at local museums. one wondering i had was it seemed like at every question that looked for significance or symbolism in his work or how he placed it on a page, he demurred and suggested that there was not any beyond the most general claim that he thought it was a good photo. if this was really how he felt then i deeply appreciated his honesty. in a world that is so scripted he was refreshing. if on the other hand there was a great deal of significance and symbolism, maybe he would have benefitted from being provided with guidelines in advance, around which he could organize his thoughts.

    Part 2 hi. i just left feedback-and had a second thought. it could be that the artist demurred in finding significance within each actual photograph and/or how he laid them out because his implicit thesis was the act of taking the photos (and not the photos themselves) was significant. if this is the case please ignore my previous suggestion.

    Wonderful salon. my only complaint was that it was freezing in the gallery, which would have been fine otherwise.

    The guest was very thorough with sharing his thoughts. overall, the salon could have been more engaging and moderated a little better.

    The event was terrific. really. as a big fan of dworzak, i loved it. i actually wish it were a little longer -- perhaps two hours, with a ten minute break in between? i would love to attend more talks with photographers from magnum. but i am coming from a distance, and wonder if events could be scheduled on weekends? vikbehl@gmail.com

    I love the idea of gertrude, and i'm pleased to have heard thomas dworzak and been able to have a brief chat with him (and pick up his new book), but overall, the experience was a bit of a non-starter. there was also a feeling that a majority of the people in attendance were with gertrude or magnum, or friends of, which created a sort of false community. $30 for "access" to this? not worth it.

    Z3iq2nw81gkwfv543dl1
    Presented by
    Y0fn1baidnu0e7jbh7tw
    Venue (details disclosed after RSVP)
    Tribeca Tribeca