The work of Zofia Rydet (1911–1997) focuses on the depiction of people. In her photographs—many of them portraits of the middle-aged and elderly—the artist betrays an inclination toward metaphor and allegory as well as an ability to capture deep empathy. Although her best-known work, a series of naturalistic portraits in residential interiors, employs the term “sociological” in its title, the intention aimed deeper. The point was to engage directly with life and its material staffage, which irrevocably ages and passes away.


Rydet associated primarily with the photography community throughout her creative life. She was one of the most active and recognized figures in Polish artistic photography of the 2nd half of the 20th century. But the power and specificity of her art extends beyond the bounds of this discipline. Rydet worked in series which she generally realized over many years, pursuing a number of them simultaneously. In developing the form of her photographs, the artist employed techniques including collage, photographic objects and typological juxtapositions, exploiting strategies drawn from conceptual, sociological and creative photography. Rydet’s most important series include Little Person, in the spirit of humanistic photography; the surrealist World of Feelings and Imagination; and the monumental and unfinished Sociological Record—the artist’s magnum opus. Rydet’s multifaceted and stylistically rich oeuvre combines strong existential traits characteristic of a generation that experienced wartime trauma, in time taking on a personal, individual cast in her works. Another key theme in her work is her broad and original treatment of the female portrait, including the autobiographical motifs that particularly enshrouded her later works. 


The artist’s legacy and the study of her work are fostered by the Zofia Rydet Foundation: 



- Endlessly Distant Roads, Raster, Warsaw, PL



- Prototypes 03: Carolina Caycedo & Zofia Rydet. Care Report, Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, PL



- The Sword-Swallowing Toad, Austriackie Forum Kultury, Warszawa, PL (with  Marianne Vlaschits)

- Family Values; Polish Photography Now, Calvert 22 Foundation, London, UK (group show)



- Répertoire (Record), 1978-1990, Jeau de Paume, Château de Tours, Tours, FR

- Głowa, skóra, twarz (Head, Skin, Face), Raster, Warszawa, PL (with Aneta Grzeszykowska)

- Zapis socjologiczny 1978-1990. Wyimki: Śląsk i Podhale, Muzeum Miejskie w Tychach, Tychy, PL



- Record 1978-1990, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, PL



- Zapis socjologiczny, Muzeum Fotografii w Bydgoszczy, Bydgoszcz, PL

Fotografie Zofii Rydet, Galeria Studio, Warszawa, PL

- Zapis socjologiczny (1978 – 1990), Gdańska Galeria Fotografii, Gdańsk, PL

- XII Baltic Triennial, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, LT (group show)

Po niebie został tylko księżyc, Muzeum Tatrzańskie: Galeria Władysława Hasiora, Zakopane, PL (group show)



- Rainbow in the Dark, SALT Galata, Istanbul, TR (group show)

Głębia ostrości, Państwowa Galeria Sztuki, Sopot, PL (group show)

- Popes, MOCAK Museum of Modern Art in Kraków, PL (group show)



Fotomontaż sentymentalny, Galeria Asymetria, Warszawa, PL

- Dokumentalistki – polskie fotografki XX w. ( She-Documentalists—Polish Women Photographers of the 20th Century), Zachęta - National Gallery of Art, Warszawa, PL (group show)



- Fotografie (Photographs), Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu, Wrocław, PL



- Fotografie (Photographs), Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, Łódź, PL



- Hommage a Zofia Rydet, Centre Regional de la Photographie, Douchy les Mines, FR



Fotografie. Śląskie wspomnienia, Muzeum w Gliwicach, Gliwice, PL


- Wojciech Nowicki, Dalekie, Bliskie, “Przekrój”, 18.04.2017 (PL)

Stach Szabłowski, Zegar z ludzkiej skóry, “Przekrój”, 13.04.2017 (PL)

- Wspólna wystawa Anety Grzeszykowskiej i Zofii Rydet w warszawskiej galerii Raster, "", 01.04.2017 (PL)

Olga Wróbel, Biedni Polacy patrzą w obiektyw, "", 2017 (PL)

Anna Arno, Łakomstwo na rzeczywistość. Portret Zofii Rydet, "Kultura Liberalna", #377 (13/2016), 2016 (PL)

Tom Melick, Zofia Rydet, "frieze", #176, 01-02/2016 (EN)

Lucy Davies, The pensioner who tried to photograph inside every house in Poland, "The Telegraph", 27.11.2015 (EN)

Krzysztof Świrek, Co odtwarza "Zapis"?, “Widok”, #9, 2015 (PL)

Hanna Dyrcz, Zofia Rydet. Zapis podróży, "Przestrzeń", #8, 10/2015 (PL)

Piotr Sarzyński, Adoracja chałupy. Tak kiedyś mieszkali Polacy, czyli fotografia socjologiczna Zofii Rydet, "Polityka", 22.09.2015 (PL)

Adam Mazur, Zofia Rydet, "Zapis socjologiczny", “”, 08/2012 (PL)



- Zofia Rydet czyli serce, wywiad z Zofią Rydet,rozm. Juliusz Garztecki, "Fotografia", #9, 1967 (PL)



Barbara Nowak, Little Man, "Thisispaper", #2, 2015 (EN)

- Krzysztof Jurecki, Zofia Rydet. Próba podsumowania dorobku twórczego, "Format", #4, 2000 (PL)

- Wojciech Wilczyk, Potrzeba zapisu, "Art&Business", 1999 (PL)

- Krzysztof Jurecki, Nieskończoność dróg w fotografii Zofii Rydet, "Kalejdoskop", #6, 1999 (PL)

- Jerzy Lewczyński, Zofia Rydet 1911-1927. Szkic biograficzny, "Wiadomości fotograficzne", 1997 (PL)

- Krzysztof Jurecki, Niekwestionowana wielkość (o Zofii Rydet), "Exit", #3, 1994 (PL)



- Wojciech Nowicki, Zofia Rydet. Zapis socjologiczny 1978-1990, Gliwice: Muzeum w Gliwicach 2016 (PL)

- Wojciech Nowicki, Dno oka – eseje o fotografii, Wołowiec: Wydawnictwo Czarne 2010 (PL)

Barbara Panek-Sarnowska, Socjologiczność fotografii Zofii Rydet, Zielona Góra: Lubuskie Towarzystwo Fotograficzne 2005 (PL)

- Adam Sobota, O fotografiach Zofii Rydet [w:] Zofia Rydet, Śląskie wspomnienia, Gliwice 1995 (PL)