The elder statesman of South African documentary photography‚ David Goldblatt‚ has died.

Born in November 1930‚ he had documented oppression since the National Party came to power in 1948‚ travelling the country to put a human face to political policies.

“A great tree has fallen and we have lost one of our national living treasures. RIP David Golblatt‚ one of South Africa’s most accomplished social chroniclers‚” art conservator Monique Vajifdar announced on Facebook.

“He inspired generations of younger photo-journalists. By documenting the daily life of South Africans under apartheid and post-apartheid‚ he gave all of us a more complete picture of South African history and society.”

Goldblatt was the first South African to be given a one-person exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His list of impressive awards included the Hasselblad Award‚ the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award and the International Centre for Photography Cornell Capa Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also an honorary fellow of The Royal Photographic Society.

Amongst his memorable projects‚ Goldblatt spent six months photographing in Soweto in 1972 and from 1976-1977 he travelled on a bicycle photographing mainly the forced removal threat faced by the Johannesburg Indian area of Fietas (Pageview)‚ according to SA In 1979 Goldblatt began working on a project about life in a typical white suburb of the Transvaal‚ which led to the publication of the book In Boksburg. Read more