In March, it was announced that as part of the 2018-2019 Sydney International Art Series, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) would be presenting a major retrospective by renowned South African photographer David Goldblatt. MCA Chief Curator Rachel Kent, who had spent a lot of time discussing the seven-decade exhibition with Goldblatt, said then how much he was looking forward to coming to Australia for the opening in October.

Then in June came the news that the 87-year old photographer had passed away peacefully in his sleep in his home in Johannesburg.

David Goldblatt Shop Assistant.  Photos © David Goldblatt, courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

“It was incredibly sad,” says Kent. “He’d been in very fine health last year. I mean, we travelled the length and breadth of South Africa together. We did a wonderful road trip, drove from the top to the bottom of the country. So it was sad. But, I feel incredibly privileged to have had that time with David and to have had his very close involvement and collaboration across all aspects of the exhibition.”

The grandson of Lithuanian-Jewish migrants,...