Thomas Dworzak (born 1972) is a German photographer. He became a Magnum Photos
nominee in 2000 and a full member in 2004. He was elected President of Magnum in 2017. Dworzak won a World Press Photo award in 2001 and in 2018 received the Hood Medal from the Royal Photographic Society in the UK.
Dworzak was born in Kötzting, Germany. He 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 where he documented the conflicts in Chechnya, Karabakh and Abkhazia. Whilst there he worked on a project about the Caucasus region and its people, the impact years of brutal war had on the region, and the interplay between Russian literature and the typical imagery of the Caucasus. This was published as the book Kavkaz
In the years following the 9/11 attacks, he spent time covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as their impact on the U.S. During a several-months assignment in Afghanistan for The New Yorker, he discovered studio portraits of the Taliban; these images would form his first book, Taliban
. The images that were 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 including: Macedonia, Pakistan, Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Lebanon, Haiti, Chad, C.A.R., the London attacks, Ethiopia, Iran, U.S. presidential campaigns, Hurricane Katrina, and the revolutions in the former Soviet republics of Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine. 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 planned to finish in 2018, 100 years after the end of the conflict.
Always an avid collector, Thomas started gathering Instagram screenshots of a variety of subjects and has been grouping them together into ever-growing collections of Instagram artist scrapbooks. A final set of 20 of these books has been presented at the International Center of Photography
, ICP, in New York from February 2017. Besides his personal stories, Thomas Dworzak continues to cover international stories, including the 2015 Paris terror attacks, Pokemon Go!, the 2016 U.S. elections, and the run-up to the 2017 French presidential elections.
When covering the escalation of the refugee crisis in 2015, he conceived the idea of "Europe - a photographic guide for refugees,"
which was produced and distributed free of charge to migrants with the support of a Magnum Foundation Emergency Grant and AFAC in 2016.
Dworzak has also been teaching a number of workshops.
Source: Pulitzer Center
With an unflinching eye and depth of vision, Thomas Dworzak has documented many of this century’s most important news stories since the 1990s. Dworzak started travelling aged 16 to photograph conflicts in Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and the disintegrating Yugoslavia. Since then, he has gone on to photograph wars in Afghanistan and Iraq post 9/11, the revolutions in the former Soviet republics of Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine.
After graduating from Robert-Schuman Gymnasium, Cham (specializing in English, French, History and Russian Literature) 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. During the Nineties, Dworzak lived in Georgia, exploring the people, culture and conflicts in the Caucasus, which resulted in the book, Kavkaz
Significant projects include a several-month assignment in Afghanistan for The New Yorker, where he discovered studio portraits of the Taliban. This became his first book, Taliban
. Meanwhile, 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
. In his most recent project, Feldpost
(2013 – 2018), he photographed the ‘memory’ of WWI in more than 80 countries, producing 1568 ‘postcards’ (one for every day of the war). It was completed on 11/11/2018, 100 years after the end of the conflict.
Dworzak is also a keen curator, with a particular interest in digital culture. His work mining Instagram memes under various hashtags—ranging from animals dressed as the pope to the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombing‚—has resulted in 20 sketchbooks compiled of his findings.
Source: Magnum Photos
Since 2011 he is also represented by Gallery Clair in Munich and St.Paul.