Krakow, 1975. Juvenalia. Fot. Chris Niedenthal
Moscow, 1989. Fot. Chris Niedenthal
A cross-sectional exhibition of photographs by prominent photographer Chris Niedenthal, summarizing his 50 years as a photojournalist. The Museum of the City of Lodz will present the next installment of the exhibition, which showcased more than 200 photos selected by Anna Brzezinska and Katarzyna Puchalska from the author’s archive of hundreds of thousands of photos in 2022 at the History Meeting House in Warsaw.
Chris Niedenthal is a photographer whose pictures of Polish reality in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s have been seen all over the world, and in Poland have become icons of a certain era in society.
Niedenthal worked as a newspaper photojournalist, initially freelancing and documenting Gierek’s Poland. Between 1974 and 1978, he did material for German magazines such as the weekly Stern and the monthly Geo, as well as the Swedish daily Expressen. In 1978 he began a nearly five-year collaboration with “Newsweek.” His debut photographic material depicted “illegal” makeshift churches, created in the People’s Republic of Poland despite a ban by state authorities. In 1978, shortly after the election of Karol Wojtyla as Pope, Chris Niedenthal was the first photojournalist to shoot reportage in his hometown, Wadowice. The following year, during the pope’s pilgrimage to his homeland, he took a photo that made it to the cover of Newsweek. Niedenthal was also – along with English journalist Michael Dobbs – the first foreign photojournalist allowed into the Gdansk Shipyard during the 1980 strike. On December 14, 1981, on the second day of martial law, he took one of his most famous photoś: a SKOT armored car against the backdrop of the Moskva cinema with a banner advertising the film “Apocalypse Time.”
However, as the curators of the exhibition emphasize: Chris Niedenthal was primarily interested in everyday life and ordinary people. Such photographs are a great and fascinating part of his archive. [He traveled across Poland with his camera and photographed situations that were ordinary to us – but he saw something extraordinary in them. […] His legitimacy as a foreign correspondent enabled him to take pictures that few could take at the time. […] Working with “Newsweek” and later with “Time” was a big step in his career, it also gave him unlimited access to high-quality Western color film (virtually unavailable to Polish photographers at the time) and allowed him to travel. Thanks to this, his archive contains a unique reporter’s record of Poland and Eastern European countries of the 1970s and 1980s.
The exhibition will feature the photographer’s most famous works, as well as projects from later years, up to the 2015 reportage.
Organizer of the exhibition: History Meeting House
Partnership: Museum of the City of Lodz
Curators: Anna Brzezinska and Katarzyna Puchalska
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog with a selection of photographs presented at DSH.
Concept and selection of photographs: Anna Brzezinska, Katarzyna Puchalska
Texts: Katarzyna Puchalska
Graphic design: Lotne Studio
Publisher: History Meeting House
Tour around the exhibition with the artist: 17.06, 11:30. Language: English