Apartheid photographer David Goldblatt dies
Iconic South African photographer David Goldblatt has died.
With a career spanning seven decades, he documented the history, people, structures and landscapes of South Africa with a quiet determination; and an unflinching sense of what is right and just, and what is not. His most iconic images were shot during the Apartheid era and his work has been credited as representing the visual conscience of South Africa.
Goldblatt was born in 1930 in Randfontein, a city 25 miles west of Johannesburg. He took up photography aged 18, the same year apartheid was enforced, and choose to work almost entirely in black and white. He focussed on a variety of subjects, both black and white, often shooting quiet reflective moments.
In a 2017 interview with the Guardian, he talked about the unusual relationships he observed between white plot owners and the black servants who lived on them.
“Many [owners] were deeply racist. They had a profound fear of black people. At the same time, they had a relationship with them on their plots that was intimate and affectionate, generous to a degree that surpassed what I knew from my middle-class urban life.”
Goldblatt's work had recently been announced as the subject of the MCA's 2018–19 Sydney International Art Series exhibition, with Museum director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE saying the museum had been honoured to work with him.
"David was truly a great artist – though he rejected that description with typical modesty. We are greatly saddened by this loss and very honoured that he gave us the opportunity to work with him on the first retrospective of his work in the Southern Hemisphere,” she said.
Goldblatt passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Monday 25 June in his Johannesburg home.