David Goldblatt was a mighty tree in the forest of society, a colossus among his South African and global peers in the world of photography.
He was deeply committed to this place, exploring and excavating its contradictions and imperfections. It is here he resonated, the photographer and the storyteller. No other environment attracted him. The making of David Goldblatt the photographic icon took a lifetime. It was only really late in his life, in the early 2000s, when photography became a feature in the fine art world, that the world caught up with David’s immense body of work and David caught up with the world.
Born in 1930 in Randfontein to Lithuanian parents. As a teenager Goldblatt started taking photos, but studied commerce at Wits University. While an immensely private person, he had a generous community spirit. He ran workshops from his home for years.
He was the founder of the Market Photo Workshop, that became a catalyst for emerging African and South African photographers, and a co-founder of the Ernest Cole Award. While he often claimed he was not “political”, he exhibited widely throughout the turbulent 1980s in collective exhibitions.
David will always be here for those whose lives he touched so profoundly in multiple ways. His photographs will continue to speak for eternity in their extraordinary humanity and poignancy. Full tribute written by Paul Weinberg, for the City Press.
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