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The visual politics of success and solidarity a case study of Chris Niedenthal's photography from The People's Republic of Poland 1978-1982

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posted on 08.06.2021, 14:11 by Katarzyna Laszcuk
This thesis focuses on photographs from the Black Star Collection by photojournalist Chris Niedenthal, who did freelance assignments in Poland for Newsweek, Time Magazine, and Der Spiegel during the 1970s and 1980s. By looking closely at Niedenthal’s work, this thesis explores how these photographs respond to and engage with the rising tension in the People’s Republic of Poland (PRL) between the years 1978 -1982. The purpose of this investigation is to study the techniques Niedenthal devised to photograph Poland during a volatile time. Through a comparative analysis of selected images from the Black Star Collection, this thesis considers two phases of Niedenthal’s work in Poland, and examines both the way Chris Niedenthal’s photography attempts to negotiate the restrictions imposed by a totalitarian political system that sought to control its self-image, and how his approach to photography adapted to the rise of the Solidarity Trade Union and imposition of Martial Law in Poland.





Master of Arts


Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Thy Phu