I like the fact that I am not in control, that the photographs are what happens, rather than the result only of the decision I make. You could say that’s the downside of photography, but it’s also why it is magic. ”
Born in 1972 and growing up in the small town of Cham in the Bavarian Forest, Thomas Dworzak very early decided to become a photographer.
Early on, in high school he traveled to Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and the disintegrating Yugoslavia.
Immediately after graduating from Robert-Schuman Gymnasium, Cham (specializing in English, French and history ) he left Germany, always combining his travels and attempts to become a photographer with studying languages. Spanish in Avila, Czech in Prague, Russian in Moscow.
In 1993 he ended up in Tbilisi, Georgia. Staying on until 1998.
At this time he began to discover the Caucasus, it’s conflicts (Chechnya, Karabakh, Abkhazia), people and culture which resulted in the publishing of his book, “Kavkaz”
in 2010. The album combines pictures with excerpts of classic 19th century Russian literature (Tolstoy, Pushkin, Lermontov).
Affiliated with the Paris photographic agency Wostok Press, he began to cover news, especially the Kosovo crisis in 1999, mostly on assignment for US News and World report.
Based again in Moscow since 2000 Dworzak returned to Chechnya. His dramatic pictures of the Fall of Grozny were widely published and received several awards. He also continued his exploration of the North Caucasus.
Dworzak became a Magnum nominee in 2000 and a full member in 2004.
He spent the years following the 9/11 attacks covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as their impact on the US.
During a several-months assignment in Afghanistan for The New Yorker, he discovered studio portraits of the Taliban. This became his first book, “Taliban”.
Images taken during his many assignments in Iraq, most of which were shot for TIME Magazine, were used to create his next book: “M*A*S*H* IRAQ”.
From 2005 to 2008, as a TIME Magazine contract photographer Dworzak covered many major international news stories: Macedonia, Pakistan, Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Lebanon, Haiti, Chad, C.A.R., the London Attacks, Ethiopia, Iran, US presidential campaigns, Hurricane Katrina (VIDEO), and the revolutions in the former Soviet republics of Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. "Wars" VIDEO
During breaks from conflict areas and war zones he regularly photographed Fashion Weeks in major cities.
In 2006 Thomas photographed the New York Marathon while participating himself.
Thomas remained in Georgia after the 2008 war with Russia. This would lead to the Magnum Group project “Georgian Spring” which was a starting point for a new, several-year long engagement with the “New Georgia” under President M. Saakashvili. In 2012, Thomas photographed Nowrooz celebrations in Georgia.
Dworzak spent 2009-2010 in Afghanistan, documenting the deployment of ISAF troops and their return home. In 2009 he also visited Iran to photograph Ashura.
A National Geographic assignment on the Sochi Olympics became later the book “Beyond Sochi”.
In 2013, a commission for the Bruges Museum led him to photograph the memory of WWI. This has since become an ongoing project concerning the legacy of the First World War around the world, which he plans to finish in 2018, 100 years after the end of the conflict.
Always an avid collector, Thomas started gathering Instagram screen shots of a variety of subjects and has been grouping them together into ever-growing collections of #instagram artist scrap books.
Besides his personal stories, Thomas Dworzak continues to cover international stories, such as the DMZ in Korea, Cuba, Colombia, China, Liberia, Arab spring in Egypt, the war in Libya and most recently, the refugee crisis in Europe the November, 2015 Paris terror attacks, and 2016 US Presidential elections. Covering the heightened migration crisis in Europe since 2015 lead him to initiate the “Europa” guide for refugees.
Dworzak has also been teaching a number of workshops (Magnum, Hong Kong, Rio, Shanghai, Open Society Documentary Project, La Caixa Fotopress…).
(1) “Kavkaz”, 2010, Schilt Publishing, Amsterdam. With texts by John Le Carre, Lev Tolstoy, Mikheil Lermontov, Alexandre Pushkin. VIDEO
(2) “Taliban”, 2002, Trolley, London. With a foreword by Jon Lee Anderson. VIDEO
(3) “M*A*S*H* IRAQ”, 2006, Trolley, London. With a foreword by Mike Farrell. VIDEO
(4) “Beyond Sochi”, 2013, Edition Seriti, Paris. With a text by William Dunbar.
(5) (5) “Instagram Collection” 2013-2017 Core collection of 20 artist scrap books: #habemuspapam, #auschwitz, #KRA, #DRKP, #????????, #rearwindow, #aintnoloveintheheartofthecity, #gun, #RKOI, #FromRussiaWithLove, #irondome, #palang, #jaffacake, #meinkampf, #sellfish, #richardprincewisheshecouldstealthis, #ashtag, #ItsOkToNotBeOk, #MeinCoif, #exactlyayearago?????????????
Order Thomas Dworzak’s books through the Magnum Store.
His work has been published in a series of collective books, notably:
“Arms Against Fury”, New York 2003
“M1”, Unlikely Encounters, Paris 2004
“Magnum Stories”, London 2004
“The Lion’s Grave”, New York 2004
“Katrina, An Unnatural Disaster”, Amsterdam, 2006
“Magnum Magnum”, London 2008
“Magnum Photos”, London 2008
“Georgian Spring”, London, Heidelberg, Madrid, Paris 2009
“A Year in Photography”, London 2010
“Magnum Contact Sheets”, London 2011
“Magnum Revolution”, London 2012
“Europa 6”, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, New York, Lublijana 2016
“MAGNUM Photobooks” London 2016.
2015: “Nous avons le Pouvoir” - UNEP (Group show),Paris.
2013: "Instagram Collection", Tbilisi, Georgia.
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, Milan.
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
2005: POY, Missouri.
2003: POYs, Missouri.
2002: POYs, Missouri.
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, Perpignan, France.