© David Goldblatt, 1967, Concession store interior, Crown Mines, Johannesburg

This photo is part of the book On The Mines by David Goldblatt and Nadine Gordimer.

On The Mines is a re-designed and expanded version of David Goldblatt’s influential book of 1973. Goldblatt grew up in the South African town of Randfontein, which was shaped by the social culture and financial success of the gold mines surrounding it. When these mines started to fail in the mid-sixties Goldblatt began taking photos of them, which form the basis of On the Mines. The book features an essay on the human and political dimensions of mining in South Africa by Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer, whose writing has long influenced Goldblatt.

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The new version of the book maintains the original three chapters “The Witwatersrand: a Time and Tailings”, “Shaftsinking” and “Mining Men”, but is otherwise completely updated, in Goldblatt’s words, “to expand the view but not to alter the sense of things”. There are thirty-one new, mostly unpublished photos including colour images, eleven deleted images, a postscript by Gordimer to her essay, as well as a text by Goldblatt reflecting on his childhood and the 1973 book. (+)

Read an interview with David Goldblatt here.

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© David Goldblatt, 1962, Kocksoord, Randfontein / South Africa

'A railway shunter who dreamed of a garden without concrete or bricks, watered by this dam on his plot or small-holdin.'

David Goldblatt is the youngest of the three sons of Eli and Olga Goldblatt. His grandparents arrived in South Africa from Lithuania around 1893, having fled the persecution of Jews in the Baltic countries. He began photographing in 1948 and has documented developments in South Africa through the period of apartheid to the present. (read more on him here)

© David Goldblatt, 1960, Steven with sight-seeing-bus, Doornfontein, Johannesburg

Goldblatt’s photographs expose the complex and evolving nature of apartheid through the diversity and subtlety of his approach while instilling “…emotional complexity that rewards repeated viewing” (The New Yorker). Instead of documenting major political events or horrifying incidents of violence, he focuses on the details of daily life and the world of ordinary people, a world where the apartheid system penetrates every aspect of society. In his photographs you will find great beauty and the most profound humanity (read more).