Chris Niedenthal’s cross-sectional exhibition presents over 200 of his photographs from 1973–2022 and is a photojournalistic record of the most important events in the contemporary history of Eastern Europe. Chris Niedenthal will talk about the circumstances in which the photographs were taken and how he became a foreign correspondent in Poland. The tour will be given in English.
The Niedenthal exhibition shows both less known photographs and some iconic shots essential to tell the story of this legendary photographer. Among many artefacts you will find original covers of the Time magazine, articles with photos, envelopes addressed to foreign editors, and cameras used by Chris Niedenthal.
At the age of 23 he came to Poland for a few months and decided to stay here for good. He worked as a press photojournalist, initially as a freelancer documenting Poland in the Gierek’s era. In 1974-1978 his works were published in the German weekly Stern and monthly Geo, as well in the Swedish newspaper Expressen. In 1978, he began a five-year cooperation with Newsweek. His first reportage depicted “illegal”, makeshift churches, built in the People’s Republic of Poland despite the ban imposed by the state authorities. In 1978, shortly after the election of Karol Wojtyła as Pope, Chris Niedenthal was the first photojournalist to report from his hometown, Wadowice. In the following year, during the Pope’s pilgrimage to Poland, he took a photo that made it to the cover of Newsweek. Niedenthal, together with an English journalist Michael Dobbs, was also the first foreign photojournalist allowed to enter Gdańsk Shipyard during the 1980 strike. On December 14, 1981, one day after the imposition of martial law, he took one of his most iconic shots: a photo of an armoured personnel carrier with the Moscow Cinema and a banner advertising Apocalypse Now in the background.
In 1984 Newsweek sent Niedenthal on his first assignment outside Poland: to Budapest, Prague and Moscow. In January 1985, he became Time’s photojournalist for Eastern Europe. Most often he photographed in Prague, Budapest, Belgrade, and Sofia. He received a World Press Photo in the “People in the News” category for his Time magazine cover photo of János Kádár (issue published on August 11, 1986).