Zofia Rydet was born in 1911 in Stanislawow (now Ukraine) and died in 1997 in Gliwice. She was a Polish artist and photographer who took tens of thousands of photographs many of which were shown in exhibitions abroad and at home.

Zofia Rydet - Self Portrait

"Even as a child, drawing and painting was much more important to me than playing, ice-skating or games. Unfortunately, my studies went in a different direction for reasons beyond my control. “Fine Arts” remained actually only in dreams, although it was still the most important. The war came, tragic for all of us. It was too late to start again. In 1957 I bought a camera and soon realized that it would give me a chance to return to my dreams."
1983 Bolesławiec
1983 Bolesławiec
1985 Katowice
1985 Katowice
1981 Gliwice
1981 Gliwice
"Now I feel comfortable only in my darkroom, next to my work. I sit there almost all day long, even though the lack of ventilation kills me. I go out only for dinner (…) I keep thinking how good it is, how lucky I am to have my photography, I am working on “The Record” all the time now. The more it grows, the more I believe and want to believe that it will have great value. Now I know for sure that the greatest value of photography is not some artistic activity, which passes, but its content, its documentary role."
1984 Pyskowice
1984 Pyskowice
1986 Silesia
1986 Silesia
1981 Zabrze
1981 Zabrze
At one house in Podhale, she saw a picture of the Virgin Mary in a hut, alongside portraits of Communist politicians Gierek and Brezhnev. "I asked how these could be hanging next to the holy picture. Then the highlander told me: 'I believe in the Holy Mother and I praise her. Gierek and Brezhnev can lick my ass, but they protect me when someone important drops by.'" 1
1984 Kleszczów
1984 Kleszczów
1969 Brzezinka
1969 Brzezinka
1984 Kleszczów
1984 Kleszczów
"A house is a reflection of the society, civilization and culture in which it was built; no two people are alike and no two houses are alike:"
"Not only people die, but also everything that surrounded them. Only photography can stop time. Only photography has the ability to overcome the spectre of death, and this is my ongoing struggle with death and passing."
More of Zofia Rydet’s work can be found here.
© Zofia Augustyńska-Martyniak under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 PL license.
Quotes collated by Ewa Mielczarek on the Secondary Archive.

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