David Goldblatt

In the 1990s my anger dissipated. Apartheid was no more. There were things to probe and criticise, but the emphasis was different. Lyricism seemed not only permissible but possible. In the late ?90s I became aware of colour as a particular quality of this place and its light that I wanted to explore. It seemed ?thin?, yet intense. To achieve prints that would hold these qualities I would need to print in colour in a way that was similar to that which I had developed for my black and white work. I wanted high contrast, thin colour and yet nuanced gradation and colour. With the help of new colour emulsions that have remarkable latitude and a neutral palette, digital scanning and printing, rag papers and pigment inks, and the technical virtuosity and willingness to venture of Tony Meintjies, who does it for me, I am approaching prints that come close to my sense of colour, place and light in South Africa.

Over the generations the land has shaped us ? I say us in the broadest sense, us South Africans. And we have shaped the land. It is almost impossible now to find a pristine landscape. The grass has been grazed to the point of being threadbare, crops come and go, roads traverse, fences divide, and mines penetrate and throw up the scabs of their detritus. These and our structures are the marks of our presence. I am drawn by the intimacies of our association with this land.

Much of the landscape is deep, bland, vast and seemingly featureless. Yet precisely in these qualities is a presence that is difficult to hold or suggest in photographs. As soon as you try to bring what is before you into some sort of visual coherence, it eludes, it seems to move away. There seems no focal point, no way of coherently containing it. Often it is what I call a ?fuck all? landscape. Somehow one has to find ways of being true to what is there and yet bringing it fully to the page or print.

From an article by Michael Stevenson, Regarding Intersections, Steidl, 2014