On the Mines is a re-designed and expanded version of David Goldblatts influential book of 1973. 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 new version of the book maintains the original three chapters The Witwatersrand: a Time and Tailings, Shaftsinking and Mining Men, but is otherwise completely updated, in Goldblatt's words, to expand the view but not to alter the sense of things. There are thirty-one new mostly unpublished photos including colour images, eleven deleted images, a postscript by Gordimer to her essay, as well as a text by Goldblatt reflecting on his childhood and the 1973 book.
On the Mines is the first of many titles in an ambitious collaboration between the photographer and Steidl that will publish Goldblatt's life work in a series of re-prints and new books. David Goldblatt is a definitive photographer of his generation, esteemed for his dispassionate depiction of life in South Africa over a period of more than fifty years. Born in Randfontein in 1930, Goldblatt worked in his fathers menswear business until 1963 when he took up photography full time.
Goldblatt's work concerns above all human values and is a unique document of life during and after apartheid. His photographs are held in major international collections, and his solo exhibitions include those at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1998, and the Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris in 2011. In 1989 Goldblatt founded the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg to teach visual literacy and photography especially to those disadvantaged by apartheid.