Why were the artist’s negatives digitized rather than the prints?
Documentations consists of more than thirty thousand photos, only some of which exist as prints; most of the others have never been published. The existing prints vary in quality and size, and often present different takes of the same image. Scanning the negatives makes it possible to organize the entire cycle, to present previously unknown photographs, and to provide exhibition-quality prints with consistent visual characteristics.
How have the photos posted on the site been framed?
The photos show full frames from digitized negatives. Rydet used both miniature cameras and 6x6 cm cameras; regardless of the negative size, she usually cut the photos to a 3:4 ratio, most often using 13x18 cm photo paper. It is impossible to identify a single correct way of framing, for the artist often made many prints from a given negative. Besides, many photos were not preserved—or never existed—in printed form.
How were the scanned negatives processed?
The scanned negatives were cleaned of impurities—both preexisting and created by the digitization process—and tonally balanced. As with framing, it is impossible to point to one “correct” method of processing the photos on the basis of Rydet’s prints. The artist’s prints tend to be softer or harder, or higher- or lower-contrast, which was sometimes the result of her intentions and sometimes due to the range of photographic materials available at the time. The photos were processed for the website based on Rydet’s exhibition prints, which were usually high-contrast and saturated, maintaining detail in the lighter areas, sometimes at the expense of detail in the shadows.
What was the basis for the division of the photos into regions and localities, as well as their detailed descriptions?
Rydet described her photos both in terms of the area or specific locality where they were made and in terms of the subject and visual motifs she found interesting therein. The most frequent subjects are social groups (factory workers, actors, dancers), while visual motifs are more universal (trees, roads, fences). Based on these categories, she later chose photos for cycles on specific themes (e.g. children for Little Man) and works based on specific visual motifs (e.g. roads in The Infinity of Distant Roads). In the digital archive, themes and visual motifs have been tagged with keywords assigned to particular pictures. The most important of them are highlighted on the website along with the regions and localities. The full set of tags is available from the search menu.