David Goldblatt has been photographing and documenting South African society for over 50 years. Born in Randfontein in 1930 to parents who came to South Africa to escape the persecution of Lithuanian Jews in 1890, he was simultaneously part of privileged white society and a victim of religious persecution and alienation. Motivated by his contradictory position in South African society, Goldblatt began photographing this society, and in 1963 decided to devote all of this time to photography.
Goldblatt focuses on critical explorations of South African society. While he uses photography as a means of accessing and exploring people and societies, David Goldblatt is acutely aware of the ethics of photography, and has used the camera as a way of capturing the complexities and intricacies of the specific conditions and situations that he photographs. His photographs are neither propaganda nor violently provocative, but rather become far more complex, meditative documents that are open to interpretation and that permeate far more deeply, and for longer than the initial shock and violence associated with documentary and news photography.