Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

David Goldblatt

The photographer, David Goldblatt was born in 1930 in Randfontein, South Africa. He started photographing as a boy to assist him with his hobby of building model boats, and later took pictures for his school magazine.
At that time, he was exposed to such magazines as Life, Look, and Picture Post, which had an influence on the kinds of subject matter and social issues that he wanted to document.
But photography careers during the 40's were limited to studio portrait and commercial work, neither of which interested Goldblatt. Subsequently, he had a difficult time finding the right venues for his work. He assisted a wedding photographer at one point, and also worked for his family's business until his father's death in 1962. After selling the business, he started on a more serious quest towards becoming a photographer. (Godby 9)
David Goldblatt started working as a professional photographer for a number of magazines and for company reports and advertising.
But, along side of this, Goldblatt did a lot of personal work. He started photographing the mining landscape where he had grown up. (Godby 12)
His photographs seemed to all have a "contemplative approach," a style that is still apparent in his images.
Goldblatt said, " If I had to report on my activities to a Heavenly labour ministry, I would, under the heading of job description, say that I am a self-appointed observer and critic of the society into which I was born, with a tendency to doing honour or giving recognition to what is often overlooked or unseen." (Goldblatt 94)
This seems apparent when we look at Goldblatt's photographs of the White South African society in Boksburg. The seemingly ordinary and complacent people who lived in those replicated suburbs were a sharp contrast to the poorer people of South Africa. 

Another hallmark of Goldblatt's earlier work is that he very rarely used color for his apartheid images. He felt that "color seemed too sweet a medium to express the anger, disgust, and fear that apartheid inspired." (Goldblatt 94) The viewer sees black and white in the print, reinforcing the separation between black and white in reality. 
   I feel that Goldblatt is a very important documentary photographer. His images speak to me as a photographer, and as a human being. Not only has he achieved great technical skill in his photographs, but he has the power to capture important subject matter that is still socially significant.