Mhambi has been redeployed.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Goldblatt revisits some Afrikaners

Watching home movies
Originally uploaded by Wildebeast1.
The Michael Stevenson gallery will present David Goldblatt's Some Afrikaners Revisited from 24 October - 25 November 2006 in Cape Town. It's an expanded view of a body of work first published in 1975 as Some Afrikaners Photographed.

Between 1961 and 1968, Goldblatt photographed Afrikaners initially around small-holdings near Randfontein, next in the Marico Bushveld and then more generally. Some of the black and white photographs were reproduced in specialist magazines, but it took Goldblatt until 1975 to find a publisher for the book that he envisaged - today a much-sought-after collector's item.

Of his decision to revisit this work and publish a new book two decades later, Goldblatt writes:

I have frequently been asked why I didn't produce a second edition. There were two reasons. First, I had done what I set out to do and was strongly disinclined to go over the same ground again. Second, since the reproduction negatives and plates and many of my original prints no longer existed, I would have had to produce a new set of darkroom prints, a hugely time-consuming task, especially unattractive when I had other projects in progress.
But then in 2004 I again visited Gamka's Kloof (Die Hel) and met Annetjie Mostert Joubert, the last of the Klowers still living there. Her infectious love of the place and of the community that was no more moved me greatly, and when I got home I looked carefully at the work I had done there in 1966-67 and 1967-68. There was quite a lot that I hadn't put into the 1975 book and it seemed sufficiently interesting to merit publication now, particularly since that unique community had completely disappeared. This led me to think not simply of a second edition but of an expanded book bringing into it various photographs from the work of that time as well as commentaries by two people whose views I value: Antjie Krog and Ivor Powell.

The possibility of a new book was made far more attractive by the experience I had gained in the past few years in digital reproduction of photographs. This technology obviated the need for me to produce a new set of hand-prints, while attaining subtleties and qualities in the new reproductions comparable to anything I could do in the darkroom.

See some of Goldblatt's Afrikaner photos here.

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