World Trade Center Documentary Arts Project



Through the partnership between the Maybach Foundation and Silverstein Properties, four young photographers were granted the opportunity to document the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. The WTC Documentary Arts project was launched in August 2008 and concluded in August 2009. Marika Asatiani (Tbilisi, Georgia) and Benjamin Jarosch (New York, U.S.) participated in the first phase of the project, ending in January 2009. The second phase of the project began in March 2009 with Nicole Tung (New York, U.S.) and Vicky Roy (New Delhi, India) and ended in August. The goals of the WTC Documentary Arts Project were:
  1. For the protégés to become highly skilled documentary photographers and produce a collection of images capturing the rebuilding of the World Trade Center that will allow international audiences to view the rebuilding of America’s most prominent landmark from diverse perspectives.
  2. To develop the next generation of documentary photographers who will raise awareness about political, cultural, and social issues.


A dramatic image can change our perception and alter people’s understanding of a subject. It can raise awareness about political, cultural and social concerns. By supporting the power of photographic storytelling, the Foundation aims to motivate society to make positive changes. Eddie Adams’ Pulitzer Prize–winning photograph of a Vietcong execution in Saigon forever changed how the world viewed the Vietnam War. Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado’s images of the impoverished portray human life with dignity and compassion. Compelling documentary photography can and does lead to changes in attitudes, behavior, and even policies. The four young documentary photographers who were selected as protégés by the Foundation come from diverse cultural backgrounds and brought their own unique perspectives to the project which not only aimed to document the rebuilding of America’s most prominent landmark, but also encouraged them to explore the issues they want to raise awareness of in the future.

The Protégés

Marika Asatiani  was born and raised in Georgia. Growing up in Tbilisi, she experienced the fall of the Soviet Union, and the major challenges her country continues to face in its transition to democracy. Ms. Asatiani holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Tbilisi State University and a Masters in Sociology from the London School of Economics. During her graduate studies in London, Asatiani took a course at St. Martin’s School of Art and Design and discovered her aptitude in photography. In 2004 she earned a certificate in Visual Studies from the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts. Ms. Asatiani has always been interested in the Arts, but her efforts to pursue a professional career in this field were hindered by the situation in Georgia and the lack of resources and support for young artists. Ms. Asatiani gradually began building her photography portfolio, which eventually led to solo and group shows in Georgia, Italy, Germany, and Austria. Ms. Asatiani was selected as a protégé for the World Trade Center Documentary Arts Project due to her exceptionally strong artistic vision that closely relates to the project, and her leadership potential as it is her expressed goal to help develop the Arts in Georgia. For her project, Ms. Asatiani focused on the transitory nature of the moment and the physical and mental construction of the World Trade Center site. Her project interests stem from her experience growing up in a place of transition with changing regimes, shifting values, and aesthetics. Ms. Asatiani was nominated by the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig, Germany.

Benjamin Jarosch  was born in Bridgeton, Missouri and grew up in Elk Grove Village, a town just outside of Chicago. He is the son of a third-generation German baker. In 2008 Mr. Jarosch graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography and Imaging and a minor in Anthropology. While at NYU, Mr. Jarosch supported himself by starting a wedding photography business with another student. He also worked as a photo editor for the university newspaper, a technical assistant for the Photography department and interned with internationally recognized photographer Joseph Rodriguez. Mr. Jarosch was selected to be a protégé for the World Trade Center Documentary Arts Project for his exceptional ability to connect to the human element of photography, his raw talent and his development potential in the early stage of his career. Mr. Jarosch focused on the people involved in the reconstruction of the World Trade Center and he hopes to use the power of photography to encourage audiences to reflect on the human aspect of this process. Mr. Jarosch was nominated by New York University’s Tisch School of Arts.

Vicky Roy  was born in the village of Purulia in West Bengal, India. As an eleven year old, he was a homeless child living in the streets of New Delhi, where he supported himself working as a rag-picker and as a dish-cleaner. Mr. Roy was brought in by the Salaam Balak Trust (SBT), a nonprofit organization that provides food and shelter for homeless children. In 2004 British photographer Benjamin Dix came to Delhi to film a documentary on the SBT and Mr. Roy was asked to assist him. This experience had a profound impact on Mr. Roy and sparked his interest in photography. With the support of SBT and others, he was able obtain basic photography equipment and training. Even with limited formal training, Mr. Roy’s natural talent is evident and he has already had considerable success. His photographs of street children have been shown in three group exhibits in India and the UK, and he had his first solo exhibition in London in November 2007. Mr. Roy has also gained experience assisting fashion photographers Prabudo Dasgupta and Bharat Sikka on shoots, as well as documentary photographer Anay Mann. Mr. Roy was selected as a protégé for the World Trade Center Documentary Arts Project for his extraordinary talent, leadership potential and dedication. As for his project, Mr. Roy focused on the construction workers themselves, in their element, rebuilding the WTC. Mr. Roy was nominated by Ramchander Nath Foundation in New Delhi.

Nicole Tung  is an American citizen who was born and raised in Hong Kong. She graduated from the German Swiss International School in Hong Kong and finished her final year at New York University in 2009, obtaining a double major in Journalism and History. While freelancing as a photographer and writer, Ms. Tung is pursuing a career in international photojournalism. Photography has been a medium of exploration for Ms. Tung. She traveled to Bosnia and Kosovo to examine the issues of independence, inter-ethnic strife, human trafficking, and militant groups in 2007, with the support of a grant from the dean of NYU. A separate trip took her to the Thai-Burma border, where she captured local people’s lives in the region. Ms. Tung also interned with ABC news and contributed to Humanus, NYU’s Human Rights Journal. Recently, Ms. Tung was awarded in the Feature Picture Story category at the New York Photographers Press Association Contest, and placed third in the Hearst Journalism Competition out of San Francisco for her work documenting Native American war veterans in Nebraska. Ms. Tung was selected to be a protégé for the World Trade Center Documentary Arts Project for her combined background in journalism, her artistic ability, and her political awareness, which bring important perspectives to the project. For this project, she created portraits of the workers and plans to tell a classic American story of resilience and strength through their faces. Ms. Tung was nominated by the New York Press Photographers Association.

Project Components

As part of the WTC Documentary Arts project the Foundation provided:
  • Mentorship and technical training
  • Critical review by industry leaders
  • Public speaking and business training
  • Individual strength assessment (Gallup Strength Finder Tool)
  • Exhibition planning and execution Networking opportunities with high-level photographers
  • Community service activities
  • Cross-cultural learning
  • Coaching on development of concrete objectives that will enable protégés to achieve their individual goals

Positive Change (Multiplier Effect)

Become a positive change agent by using skills to:
  1. Marika Asatiani—open an art publication space and contribute to establishing an independent art institute in Tbilisi, Georgia.
  2. Benjamin Jarosch— witness and document the responses of towns and communities across the U.S. as it faces the challenges and opportunities this current economic crisis presents, particularly with regard to the changes people are making to live more      environmentally conscious life styles, as well as work being done in the field of renewable energy.
  3. Vicky Roy—open a professional photography school in Purulia, India that will train young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to be professional assistants to photographers, set up basic studios, and become economically independent.
  4. Nicole Tung—develop a program in which Native American children living on Reservations in the US and Canada would explore their homes through the lens of a camera.

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