David Goldblatt's photographs have documented the prosaic details of South African life for over five decades now. Whether photographing the stolid white suburb of Boksburg, or recording the invisible assault of apartheid by taking an early morning bus ride with the transported of KwaNdebele, his photographs have consistently impressed because of their eloquent humanism.
Born in 1930, he is the son of Lithuanian Jews who fled the pogroms in the 1890's. His family ran a small men's wear business in Randfontein, a gold mining town southwest of Johannesburg. Although he took serendipitous photographs during his youth, his first obligation was to the family business. After the death of his father Eli Goldblatt in 1962, he sold the family business to pursue a career as a full time photographer. He compares the elation of his release from the duties of the family business as one of letting loose an untied balloon.
David Goldblatt's unerring photographic records of South African life have concentrated on landscape and structure, people and context. His output is predominantly rooted in that most turbulent of times, high apartheid. David Goldblatt, however, remains a prolific talent and his recent shift to colour photography has only served to enhance the photographer's revealing portraits of apartheid's aftermath - South Africa today.