Zofia Rydet

ID photo of Rydet by Jerzy Wolasewiccz.

Zofia Rydet’s photographs are unique in the way that they document life in Communist Poland. Over 900 previously unseen photos are now on display at the “Zofia Rydet. Record, 1978-1990” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. Rydet’s photographs can also be found at some of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

...Her most famous photos show the interiors of rural cottages that Rydet marched into from the street, taking photos of people in their natural environment – cooking dinner, peeling potatoes, milking cows, putting horseshoes on a horse. She forbade her subjects from smiling, wanting to make the situations she captured as realistic as possible. If those being photographed insisted on smiling, Rydet would tell them that they needed to keep a serious pose as the photos would be shown around the world and would be shown to the Pope. This usually convinced the subjects to follow Rydet’s lead.

When entering people’s homes, Rydet would look for “beautiful or unusual objects”, using them as the focal point of subsequent conversations and photographs. Her photos are among the most valuable records of Communist Poland’s last decade. They remain, to this day, unknown to many as the passionate photographer never found time to develop the negatives. ...

“Until now, we never knew the full scope of Rydet’s leading masterpiece, “The Sociological Record.” Only a small part of the collection’s 20,000 photos ever saw the light of day. Rydet never found the time to develop the negatives. She felt that she didn’t have much time left and that completing her mission was going to be impossible anyway. After all, it is an impossible feat to photograph every single apartment in Poland... continued at http://poland.pl/arts/visual-arts/sociological-snapshots/
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First Collected by

Jaak Mortelmans


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