Hot water: before the controversial Olympic makeover, a last summer in Sochi

Photographer Rob Hornstra and writer Arnold van Bruggen have been working together since 2009 to tell the story of Sochi, Russia, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. As practitioners of "slow journalism", they have returned to the region a number of times to capture the area and its people on camera and in writing before it finds itself in the glare of international media attention. Together, the texts and images have resulted in The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus, which has been released via installments in book form and online. "Never before have the Olympic Games been held in a region that contrasts more strongly with the glamour of the Games than Sochi," writes Van Bruggen. "Just 20km away is the conflict zone Abkhazia. To the east, the Caucasus Mountains stretch into obscure and impoverished breakaway republics such as North Ossetia and Chechnya. On the coast, old Soviet-era sanatoria stand shoulder to shoulder with the most expensive hotels and clubs of the Russian Riviera. By 2014 the area around Sochi will have been changed beyond recognition.”

22 July 2013

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