Thomas Dworzak was born in Kötzting, Germany. He had already decided to become a photographer from an early age, travelling to Northern Ireland, Israel, Palestine and to Yugoslavia while still in high school.
Dworzak lived in Tbilisi, Georgia from 1993 until 1998 during which time he photographed the conflicts in Chechnya, Karabakh and Abkhazia, documenting the impact of years of brutal war and exploring the interplay between Russian literature and representations of the Caucasus. The work was published as the book Kavkaz.
A few months after the start of the war in Afghanistan in 2001, on assignment for The New Yorker, Dworzak travelled to Kandahar where he came upon a collection of retouched studio portraits of Taliban soldiers which he used to create the book Taliban, published in 2003.
For the decade following the September 11th attacks, Dworzak covered the ensuing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, as well as their international political ramifications. While embedded with Iraqi medical evacuation teams, he documented their day-to-day operations which he later published as M*A*S*H* I*R*A*Q*, a book in which he juxtaposes his original photographs with screenshots of the TV series M*A*S*H.
Dworzak reported on the crisis in Haiti, the Tsunami aftermath in Sri Lanka and conflicts in Chad, Nigeria, CAR, and Ethiopia, in addition to the “coloured revolutions” of Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.
In the Caucasus, he covered the Second Chechen war and the Georgian “Rose Revolution”, as well as the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia and Kadyrov’s Chechnya. He remained there after the war, photographing for the Magnum group project Georgian Spring, the travel journal of ten Magnum photographers who visited Georgia in 2009.
Besides his personal project in the Caucasus in 2011, Dworzak covered the war in Libya and the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution and, in 2012, the protest in Russia and the situation in the North Caucasus leading up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, published in 2014 as Beyond Sochi, a limited-edition box set of maps.
Thomas Dworzak’s work has been widely published in the international press, by magazines including The New Yorker, TIME (where he was a contract photographer from 2005-2008) and National Geographic. His work has been exhibited at art institutions including the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne; the Leica Gallery, Frankfurt; La Maison Doisneau, Paris; and the Goethe-Institut, New York.
Dworzak became a Magnum nominee in 2000 and has been a full member since 2004.
Awards | recognitions
2018 Hood Medal, Royal Photographic Society, UK
2003 Award of Excellence, Pictures of the Year International
2001 World Press Photo (Spot News Story, 1st prize)
2001 Prix Bayeux, France
2001 Prix Terre d’Images Scoop d’Angers, France
2000 Prix Kodak, Kodak Young Photographer of the Year
2023 Documenting Israel: Visions of 75 Years, Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem, Israel
2020-2021 Masculinities: Liberation through Photography, Barbican Art Gallery, London; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; Les Rencontres d’Arles, France
2020 Open for Business – Magnum photographers on commission, Deutsche Börse, Eschborn, Germany
2017 Magnum Photos at 70: Past-Present-Future, Leica Gallery, Frankfurt
2013 KAVKAZ, Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus, Schwandorf, Germany
2014 Beyond Sochi, Pobeda Gallery, Moscow
2013 Magnum: Trans-Territories, Mannheim-Heidelberg-Ludwigshafen Photofestival
2013 Magnum Revolutions, Osnabrueck / Regensburg
2011 Nintendo 3D, Magnum Gallery, Paris
2011 Medellin Urban Integration, AFD 60th Anniversary, Paris
2011 Frontline, NRW-Forum, Düsseldorf
2011 Taliban Generation 9/11, The Hague
2011 KAVKAZ, Thessaloniki Biennale, Greece
2009 Lagos, Megapolis Tour, C/O Berlin
2007 M.A.S.H., Goethe-Institut, New York
2006 Katrina, Groenigen, The Netherlands
2004-2005 Off Broadway, New York; Arles; Berlin
2000 The Fall of Grozny, Visa pour l’Image, Perpignan
1997-1998 Caucasus, Galerie Génériques, France; Maison Robert Doisneau, Gentilly, France
1995 La Vie comme dans un Miroir, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne
2021 The Bridge (self-published)
2014 Beyond Sochi, Les Editions Seriti, Paris
2013 Instagram Books, presented at the Tbilisi Photo festival
2012 Magnum Revolution: 65 Years of Fighting for Freedom, Prestel, Munich
2011 Magnum Contact Sheets, Thames & Hudson, London
2010 KAVKAZ, Schilt, Amsterdam
2010 Off Broadway, teNeues, Germany
2009 Georgian Spring: A Magnum Journal, Chris Boots, Textuel, Kehrer and Editoral R.M.
2006 M*A*S*H* I*R*A*Q*, Trolley Books, London
2006 Katrina, an unnatural disaster, Mets & Schilt, Amsterdam
2004 Magnum Stories, Phaidon, London
2004 M1: Unlikely Encounters, Magnum Photos
2003 Taliban, Trolley Books, London
2002 Arms Against Fury: Magnum Photographers in Afghanistan, Thames & Hudson, London
2002 The Lion’s Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan, Grove Press, New York