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    Zofia Rydet’s “Sociological Record” Inducted into UNESCO’s National Memory of the World Register

    The prestigious photographic series “Sociological Record” by Zofia Rydet has been officially added to Poland’s National Memory of the World Register by UNESCO. This recognition highlights significant aspects of intangible cultural heritage in Poland. Rydet, an influential photographer, had a deep connection to Gliwice, where she produced much of her work.

    In 1978, Zofia Rydet embarked on what would become her most ambitious project. Already an acclaimed photographer approaching her seventies, Rydet created “Sociological Record 1978-1990,” a collection of approximately 20,000 images. These photographs primarily feature portraits of Poles within their home settings, focusing largely on rural inhabitants.

    Zofia Rydet’s “Sociological Record”: A Timeless Portrait of Everyday Life

    Rydet described her work as “a preservation of time,” intending to capture the rapidly changing reality of everyday life. “The Record aims to faithfully depict people in their daily environments, surrounded by their immediate surroundings, which often reveal more about them than they might themselves,” Rydet once explained.

    Rydet’s photography journey began in the mid-1950s when she joined the Polish Photographic Society in Gliwice. She spent many years in the city, beginning her work on “Sociological Record” as a seasoned artist. Her goal was to explore the essence of people through the objects they surrounded themselves with. Initially, she photographed individuals and then captured elements of their homes, such as walls, doors, windows, and clothing. Over time, her work expanded to include entire interiors, from rural cottages to urban apartments and dormitory rooms.

    Digitization and Exhibition Efforts Preserve Zofia Rydet’s “Sociological Record”

    In recent years, “Sociological Record” was digitized and made available online at www.zofiarydet.com/zapis/pl, thanks to the Zofia Rydet Foundation, the Foundation for Visual Arts, the Gliwice Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, with financial support from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. These efforts also led to monographic exhibitions and the 2017 publication of a comprehensive album featuring essays by Wojciech Nowicki. This 300-page book, which includes nearly 200 photographs and a detailed chronology of Rydet’s life, is available for purchase through the Gliwice Museum’s online store or at Villa Caro.

    Zofia Rydet was born in 1911 in Stanisławów and passed away in 1997 in Gliwice. Her work continues to offer an invaluable glimpse into the everyday lives of Poles, preserving a unique cultural legacy for future generations.

    For more information, visit muzeum.gliwice.pl.

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