On the Mines. Photographs by David Goldblatt. Text by Nadine Gordimer. C.Struik Ltd. Cape Town, 1973. 136 pp. Large quarto. First edition. Clothbound in photo-illustrated dust jacket. 56 black-and-white reproductions.
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. The book consists of three parts: I. The Witwatersrand: A time and tailings. Nadine Gordimer and David Goldblatt explore, in words and photographs, the world of the gold mines among which they grew up. II. Shaftsinking: A series of photographs, with an explanatory text by the photographer, of a Dantesque world, which, because of its inaccessibility and dangers, is seldom seen by outsiders. III. Mining Men: A collection of portraits mostly of those whose life and work forms the substance of the first two parts of the book.
Near Fine+/Near Fine+; foxing to (mostly upper) board extremities; jacket lightly edge worn with a couple of tiny tears (less than 1/4").