Another highlight of my trip to the Berlinische Gallerie is a piece of photo journalism entitled The Sochi Project. The brainchild of photographer Rob Hornstra and writer and film maker Arnold van Bruggen, this project documents life in a small town in Russia, not far from Georgia and the troubled region of Chechnya. The town is called Sochi and in 2014, it will play host to one of the world’s most high-profile events: The Olympic Games.
The Sochi Project is a fascinating insight into what life is like for the town’s citizens before it is completely changed by the Olympics and its associated infrastructure. This is a town that in some ways has not changed for centuries. Many of its inhabitants face severe poverty but it is also a place where religion and traditions play a huge role in the life of its communities.
Perhaps what makes this project so interesting is that we do not know what will happen to the people of Sochi. The Olympic Games may regenerate the area and bring prosperity and opportunity to the town’s citizens. On the other hand, the rapid rate of non-organic growth may leave a few richer, but the majority no better off and communities ripped apart. It is certainly one to watch.