Zofia Rydet: Sociological Record

Zofia Rydet’s Sociological Record represents one of the most important achievements in 20th-century Polish photography. The project, created between 1978–1997, is a sweepingly comprehensive documentary portrait of Polish domestic life. The photos span decades, eras, regions, cultures, and subject material. 

Although of almost canonical significance, the Sociological Record has long stymied scholars and artists alike, owing to the project's sheer breadth. Now, with the launch of an online, bilingual database, this incredible resource can now be accessed by the wider public. The first phase of the project included the digitization of more than 7,000 negatives. 

The database’s system allows any user to plumb the depths of Rydet’s work. The archive can be sorted into specific series, by the content ("interiors" or "professions") or by the region in which the images were created. The overarching project hopes to weave together the combined efforts of multiple cultural institutions and incorporate a wider variety of mediums.

The project’s next stage will be the continued development of the Sociological Record's virtual archive. Eventually, some 16,000 negatives will be digitally archived.

—LensCulture