Particulars.
Photographs by David Goldblatt.
Goodman Gallery Editions, Johannesburg, 2004. Unpaged, Numerous black-and-white illustrations, 14x15".

Please note that this book is no longer available with a dustjacket.

This past July, Goldblatt won the book award at the Arles photography festival for Particulars. Goldblatt, the son of a tailor, was born and raised in the years just preceding Apartheid-era South Africa, in the insignificant town of Randfontein. He took over the family business when his father passed away, running it for 10 years and photographing in his spare time. As the new apartheid government came into power, Goldblatt quickly realized that his interest did not lie in the big events that the media tended to cover; rather he gravitated towards the lives of ordinary people, and the underlying values they held. While his work fits readily into a classic documentary genre, he has avoided the tendency of many who have sought to dramatize moments in the lives of strangers. Goldblatt, instead, worked close to home, exploring the different regions of his motherland. Particulars is a body of photographs from the mid 1970s which are rooted in his time spent around people being outfitted for new clothes. He describes the impact of this period. "Of my life experiences, one that was crucial was that of working in my father's shop in Randfontein, where I acquire a consciouness of bodily particulars that was technical rather than subjective." The images, all from 6x6 cm medium-format negatives, are of just this, bodily particulars. Bejewelled hands, street-worn feet, crossed legs, and overweight knees fill the frame and surprisingly reveal a great deal about the individuals as much as a facial portrait could.
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