Through the Lens: David Goldblatt

Every week I'm faced with the same struggle - which amazing photographer will be featured here today. I end up spending so much more time then should be required trying to figure out which photographer I'm most excited about. Today was especially difficult as the final two candidates works are just amazing. South African photographer David Goldblatt won out mainly because I needed to make a choice so I could eventually get on to other things (like sleeping). I also loved the fact that Goldblatt has used his cameras to record the changes in South Africa (and other parts of the continent) for more than 40 years. As someone who at times feels all over the board, I'm completely in awe of Goldblatt's complete dedication to not only the field of photography but also the subject of his home country in particular. His work has captured South Africa both pre and post apartheid and capturing the lives of both black and white individuals, families, and communities. What makes this especially interesting is that during a transition when so many images coming out of South Africa focused on the violence of this change, Goldblatt instead used his camera to show how citizens on ever side of the divide were attending to the day-to-day business of living.

His work has mostly been in black and white however Goldblatt is not letting the digital age go by as he eventually started working in color. In reading interviews and other information about this photographer, I was particularly interested in how he went from a world where all your work had to be done in black and white to switching to color. He has done it very slowly and only in a manner that stressed the importance of capturing the colors as close to reality as possible (no uber blue skies for this guy).

In addition to being featured at just about every major art museum in the world and written about in major newspapers and magazines, Goldblatt's work was recognized by the kind folks over at the Hasselblad Foundation who awarded him the International Award in Photography (basically a Nobel Prize in the field) in 2006. This summer, Goldblatt also received the prestigious Henri Cartier-Bresson (a major heavy-weight in the world of photography) award which will allow the him to continue his documentary on the city of Johannesburg.

{Photos copyright David Goldblatt from: Brian Rose, New York Times}

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