Sunday, 2 February 2014


Today is the feast of the presentation of Jesus at the Temple of Jerusalem. It used to be called Candlemas. At dinner last night, we were talking about the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela: our host has completed it twice. He was quizzed by another guest. "What does a Jew do when he reaches Santiago?" The response, of course, was "Present himself at the tomb of the Apostle James, himself a Jew in boyhood."

It was an evening full of insights: the use of Seville oranges in a soufflé for one; but particularly into the mind of "South Africa's foremost documentary photographer" (the description is  Lesley Lawson's), photographed here with his elder son. He presents his work conceptually, ostensibly eschewing lyricism.

But does he really? I asked (knowing his work via the monograph in Phaidon's 55 series). Perhaps with the lapse of time, David Goldblatt admits, we can now view some of those stark images of South Africa in the Apartheid era as indeed lyrical.

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