May Day, Poland, 1971. Our neighbor, mining explosive engineer and avid amateur photographer R. Kondracki shot thousands of stills on ORWO color transparency film in this period.

ORWO was the East German cousin of Kodak, their histories fabulously intertwined:

This project is to honor Kondracki’s commitment to everyday photography, moments of joy, and especially to Color photography in a reality that is most often described as nothing but Gray.

After we left in April 1972 and were denied re-entry, our family reunions would happen in one or another Eastern Bloc country. Kondracki documented them all with great passion.

On the 40th anniversary of our exodus, I am gathering more ORWO Color photography from this era and from the Communist Bloc, shot by enthusiasts like Kondracki, to turn them into a book.

If you know anyone who visited or lived there in this period and who has ORWO Color pictures to share, get in touch! admin at,