David Goldblatt was born in 1930 in Randfontein, South Africa, to Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, and he currently lives and works in Johannesburg. He is South Africa’s most highly regarded photographer. His work since 1961 has consisted of a series of critical explorations of South African society, capturing the human landscape in the apartheid and post-apartheid eras. In 1989 in Johannesburg, Goldblatt founded the Market Photography Workshop (whose alumni include Zanele Muholi and Sabelo Mlangeni), which acts as a photography school, gallery, and project space, and plays a pivotal role in training South Africa’s photographers, ensuring that visual literacy reaches neglected and marginalized parts of society.
Goldblatt has received many awards for his work, including a Lucie Lifetime Achievement Award (2010), a Henri Cartier-Bresson Award (2009), and a Hasselblad Photography Award (2006). His photographs have been featured in numerous exhibitions around the world, most recently at the International Center of Photography, New York (2013), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2012), the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010 and 1998), the Jewish Museum, New York (2010), the New Museum, New York (2009), and Documenta, Kassel (2007 and 2002), among others. A retrospective exhibition of his work, David Goldblatt: Fifty-One Years, began a tour of galleries and museums around the world in 2001, starting at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) and traveling to New York, Rotterdam, Lisbon, Oxford, Brussels, Munich, and Johannesburg. Goldblatt’s photographs are in the collections of the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town; the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.