How a photographer from London gave the rest of the world a glimpse of everyday life behind the Iron Curtain. Part of our mini-series The Final Curtain.
The Polish-British photographer Chris Niedenthal found himself in the heart of Communist Poland in the 1970s and 80s, documenting both how ordinary people lived, as well as the major political events leading up to the collapse of the Soviet-backed regime.
His photographs ended up in major Western periodicals, such as Newsweek, Time, Der Spiegel and Forbes. Through his camera, he created a window into the Polish People's Republic for the rest of the world to peer through.
His iconic photograph of an armoured vehicle in front of a poster for the film ‘Apocalypse Now’, taken after martial law was declared in Poland, remains one of the defining images of the period – but how did he end up taking it, and what happened next?
You can see this famous photo below. We recommend that you do so before listening to the episode, as Chris Niedenthal will be taking about it in depth.
[01:07] How he came to Poland
[04:15] The election of John Paul II and how it changed Chris’ life
[05:30] Martial law and Chris’ most iconic photo
[10:04] Other revolutions Chris witnessed and photographed
[12:59] How he happened to be the first photographer to shoot the fall of The Berlin Wall
[16:00] What did Chris do after communism had ended?
Written & produced by Monika Proba
Edited by Adam Zulawski & Wojciech Oleksiak
Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak
Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski
Music by Blue Dot Sessions & SIR HARDLY NOBODY (Chris Niedenthal's band)