In 1975, after an extended period photographing in Hillbrow and Soweto, David Goldblatt spent several months making tightly framed portraits of park users in Johannesburg. These photographs were later featured in Goldblatt’s book, Particulars (2003), along with contemporaneous portraits made in Transkei. Goldblatt’s park subjects represented a broad demographic of Johannesburg residents, rich and poor, black and white. Photographed in public spaces such as Joubert Park, Pieter Roos Park and – here – Zoo Lake, Goldblatt’s strategy of only fractionally portraying his subjects as mere torsos, hands or a tangle of feet was purposeful. ‘What became apparent to me as I worked was that, in our body language, in our clothing, in our decoration, we often declared our values.’1 Notwithstanding the radical subtraction of context, it bears noting that the park bench, a central prop in this series, was a key signifier of petty apartheid – a ‘hallowed’ object as poet Mbuyiseni Oswald Mtshali wrote.2
Courtesy of the Goodman Gallery.
The proceeds from the sale of this lot will benefit the Greatmore Studios Trust.
Stevenson, Cape Town, David Goldblatt: Particulars, 1 to 25 October 2003.
Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, David Goldblatt: Particulars and Rural South Africa, 25 October to 15 November 2003.
Another example from this edition, printed in 2010, is in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).
Another example from this edition, printed in 2013, is in the permanent collection of the Tate, London.
David Goldblatt. (2003) Particulars, Johannesburg: Goodman Gallery Editions. Illustrated, unpaginated.