“I need to take photos immediately – it’s like an addiction, like vodka to an alcoholic.” Zofia Rydet knew exactly what she wanted, and that was to take a photograph of every household in Poland. At 67, she set off to do the enormous task of documenting people in their humble abodes. That reason alone pushed Rydet to take 20,000 photographs until she could no longer travel with her beloved camera. The resulting series is interesting as it is nostalgic.
The elderly photographer wanted to cover all the households in Poland but old age caught up with her. Curator Sebastian Cichoki and Karol Hordziej of the Foundation for Visual Arts in Krakow handpicked 300 prints from Rydet’s massive 20,000 collection of photographs and put them on display at Jeu de Paume. The exhibit is titled Sofia Rydet: Record, 1978-1990. Rydet died in 1997 and left behind the enormous collection of photographs along with detailed instructions on how to print her images.
Rydet’s work is categorized into three series, namely Sociological Record, Professions, and Women on Doorsteps. For Sociological Record, she took photographs of people in their own home with her wide-angle camera and flash set up. It was a step back in time that sheds light into the life of numerous people from over 100 towns in Poland alone. Professions focus more on the occupation of the subject while Women on Doorsteps present women in both their personal and public space.
We can only imagine what Rydet could have pulled off had she started photographing for her series at a younger age.
Viewers may still catch the exhibit Sofia Rydet: Record, 1978-1990 at Jeu de Paume at Château de Tours until May 17, 2017.
CHÂTEAU DE TOURS
25 Avenue André Malraux - 37000 Tours
Tel. : 02 47 21 61 95
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 2 pm to 6 pm
Closed on Mondays.