People are trying to organise Winter Games in a sub-tropical conflict zone.

The Sochi Project

“An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus brilliantly merges journalism and storytelling with found photographs and formal portraits to create a profile of a potentially dangerous region.” — The Guardian, 2014

From 2009 through 2013, photographer Rob Hornstra and journalist Arnold van Bruggen traveled to Sochi, Russia, and the surrounding Caucasus, returning repeatedly to this isolated and incredibly complicated region in the midst of its preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Together, the images and texts unpack the complex, multivalent story of this contested region, remaining all the more relevant for the insight they provide into the ‘true face of Russia’ post-Sochi, and following the annexation of the Crimea, the brutal murder of Boris Nemtsov and the current war in Ukraine.

K&H was a partner of The Sochi Project from its early start in 2009 and involved in all its communications and publications. Together with Rob and Arnold we created an urgent tone of voice and overarching project identity. As the project developed, we conceptualized and designed 4 annual publications: ‘Sanatorium’, ‘Empty Land, Promised Land, Forbidden Land’, ‘Sochi Singers’ and ‘The Secret History of Khava Gaisanova’, as well as numerous spin-offs like poster campaigns, newspaper exhibitions, and the smaller Sketchbook publication series to name only a few.

When the Sochi Project reached its completion just before the opening of the Olympic Winter Games in 2014, K&H designed the 392 page retrospective book ‘An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus’ which was published by Aperture Foundation. At the same time, the full Sochi Project contents were launched as an extensive website, which is still accessible here in English, Dutch and Russian.

The final platform we developed is that of a traveling exhibition, which first opened at the Antwerp based fotomuseum FOMU and has been traveling around the globe ever since.

The Sochi Project
Rob Hornstra & Arnold van Bruggen

Long-term multi platform documentary project

Year: 2009 – 2014

Visual concept, project identity, graphic design, web design & exhibition design: Kummer & Herrman

Publisher retrospective book ‘An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus’: Aperture Foundation

Technical development website: Thijs Gadiot

New York Photo Book Award 2010 (‘Sanatorium’)

Dutch Canon Prize for Innovative Journalism 2010, honorable mention in the Magnum Expression Award 2010 (‘On the Other Side of the Mountains’)

Photo-eye Best Books of 2010, Shortlist Kassel International Photobook Award 2011 (‘Empty land, Promised land, Forbidden Land’)

Magnum Expression Award, 2011 (‘Safety First’)

World Press Photo - Arts & Entertainment Stories, 2012; Winner Sony World Photography Awards - Arts & Culture, 2012; Winner PDN Photo Annual - Book Category, 2012 (‘Sochi Singers’)

Shortlisted for the IDFA DocLab Awards 2013 (‘The Sochi Project’-website)

European Design Awards 2014 Silver (‘An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus’)

European Design Awards 2014 Gold (‘The Secret History of Khava Gaisanova’)

Dutch Design Award 2014