David Goldblatt: Seeing South Africa


Born in 1930, David Goldblatt is perhaps South Africa’s best known and most highly regarded photographer of his generation. Find out a little bit more about him here.

David Goldblatt ‘A farmer’s son with his nursemaid, on the farm Heimweeberg, near Nietverdiend in the Marico Bushveld’ Transvaal, December 1964 Gelatin-silver print Museum no. E.12-1992 Given by David Goldblatt © David Goldblatt via vam.ac.uk/

David Goldblatt’s photos revolve around his exploration of the social landscape of South Africa. Growing up in a country which in the 40s and 50s was at the peak of racism and anti-semitism, Goldblatt carefully observed the social, cultural and economic divides that characterised the South African state.

David Goldblatt, Family at Lunch, 1962 via vam.ac.uk/
David Goldblatt, ‘A commando escorting the prime minister and leader of the National Party, Hendrik Verwoerd and his wife, Betsy, to the party’s 50th anniversary celebrations’ De Wildt, Transvaal, 31 October 1964 Gelatin-silver print Museum no. E.11-1992 Given by David Goldblatt © David Goldblatt via vam.ac.uk/

The son of Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants, he himself, frequently experienced anti-Semitic sentiments and this in turn made him especially sensitive to the humiliation and discrimination suffered by others under apartheid.

David Goldblatt, ‘3.00 a.m.: Early passengers on the Wolwekraal-Marabastad bus’ 1984 Gelatin-silver print Museum no. Ph.65-1987 © David Goldblatt via vam.ac.uk/

Goldblatt’s photos focus on ordinary people and everyday life. His work is a series of quiet observations rather than loud political statements. He shed light on injustice not through the documentation of large scale happenings but rather through the character of the people living a struggle. Having very little interest in explosions of hostility, Goldblatt’s Transported of KwaNdebele series for example, followed the daily commute of black workers during segregation His first publication, On the Mines, examined the subterranean lives of gold miners in the East Rand area of the country.

David Goldblatt, Man with an injured arm. Hillbrow, Johannesburg. June, 1972, 1972 Black-and-white photograph on matte paper Courtesy the artist and Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg via http://www.newmuseum.org/

Now over 80 years old, Goldblatt is a recipient of the Hasselblad Foundation Award in photography and has more than 20 solo exhibitions under his belt, including ones at the MOMA and the V&A; the latter having received a large collection of his work as a donation in 1987.

David Goldblatt via http://davesouthwood.com

Information for this article was taken from VAM UK, The Jewish Museum and SA History.

written by webo29 on 2012-01-13 #lifestyle #black-and-white #south-africa #apartheid #david-goldblatt

One Comment

  1. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    He captures so much emotion.

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