Age:  81

Location: Johannesburg
Length of work: 63
Recent exhibition: Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography (V&A Museum, 12 April – 17 July 2011)


David Goldblatt’s documentation of his distinctive vision of South African society has spanned over 50 years. He began photographing in 1948 and has recorded developments in South Africa through the period of Apartheid to the present.

He is both locally and internationally acclaimed and has numerous publications to his name, including his book, South Africa: The Structure of Things Then, published in 1998, which offers an in-depth visual analysis of the relationship between South Africa’s structures and the forces that shaped them, from the country’s early colonial beginnings up until 1990.

Only up until the end of the 1990s did Goldblatt decide to shoot in colour, formally preferring the black and white aesthetic, as he felt it more aptly conveyed the tension that symbolised the Apartheid period. After he was able to achieve the same “depth” in his colour work that he had previously achieved in his black and white photographs, did he finally choose to extensively explore the field.

The result is a plethora of images of diverse richness that continue to shed light on the seminal character of South Africa.


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