TJ/Double Negative

TJ/Double Negative is a joint project by the photographer David Goldblatt and the writer Ivan Vladislavić, comprising a book of photographs and a novel. In TJ, Goldblatt presents 300 images drawn from more than sixty years of photographing Johannesburg and its people. Vladislavić’s novel Double Negative was written to accompany the images. Together the two volumes create a resonant conversation between image and text.

tjdnTJ/Double Negative
with David Goldblatt
Contrasto, 2010
ISBN 978-88-6965-272-1
More at www.contrastobooks.com

TJ/Double Negative
with David Goldblatt
Umuzi, 2010
ISBN 978-1-4152-0128-2
More at www.randomstruik.co.za

 

 

 


EXTRACT

When I returned to the lounge, Auerbach had the focusing cloth over his head. For a moment, the darkness seemed to emanate from him, running out from under the stifling hood. Then the flow reversed and the cloth appeared to be soaking up the shadows that had lain there already. Mrs Ditton sat in the armchair beside the fireplace. The coffee table had been dragged away – there is no trace of it in the photograph – to expose the floorboards and a corner of the rug. Looming on the left is the largest of the cabinets, so imposing you would say it belongs in a department store. The chair has wooden arms with ledges for teacups and on each of these lies a pie-crust of crochet work and a coaster. The chair sprawls with its arms open wide and its fists clenched, and she wallows in its lap.

      Auerbach shrugged off the cloth and stood beside the camera with the cable release in his hand. The shadows scuttled and settled again. He waited for something to happen. Or not happen. Something imperceptible to the rest of us had to become clear before he could release the shutter. Twice he stepped away from the camera and looked towards the door with a grimace, as if the situation pained him and he had made up his mind to leave. This caused her to look at the door enquiringly as if someone had just knocked.

      I imagined the door opening, I imagined the room opening rather than the door, the door standing still while the house swung away on small hinges and closed into the eye of the camera with a bang. Patience, something is bound to happen. And if nothing does? That is unthinkable. We cannot be left here in this half-formed state.

      While my thoughts were elsewhere, Auerbach took the picture. For only the second time that day, the shutter fell through the moment like a guillotine. You can see the relief on Mrs Ditton’s face as she drops from the fulness of life into a smaller, diminished immortality. She looks grateful to have the air knocked out of her. Anticipating a paper-thin future, she floats free of the fat-thighed cushions and the sticky shadows, she levitates. It is there in the photograph, you have only to look.


TRANSLATIONS

tjdn italianTJ/Doppia Negazione
with David Goldblatt
Contrasto, 2010
ISBN 978-88-6965-262-2
More at www.contrastobooks.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


COMMENTARY
Jan Steyn on TJ/Double Negative in the Quarterly Conversation
See the article at quarterlyconversation.com

Read 3429 times

Other Writing

  • 101 Detectives in The Offing

    The title story of Vladislavic's latest collection has appeared in The Offing, an online channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books.

    Read full story here

  • 'Exit Strategy' in Granta

    This story is drawn from Ivan Vladislavic's new collection 101 Detectives, due to be published by Umuzi in May and by And Other Stories in June. 

    Follow this link to read the full story

  • S.J. Naude and Ivan Vladislavic in conversation, Granta

    S.J. Naude and Ivan Vladislavic exchange ideas about writing. Naude's The Alphabet of Birds will be published by And Other Stories in January.

    Follow this link to read more

  • Chris van Wyk, 1957-2014

    My friend Chris died on 3 October. He wrote two wonderful memoirs, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, and Eggs to Lay, Chickens to Hatch, and that's where you can get to know him. My tribute to Chris is on Books LIVE.

    Follow this link to read more

  • ‘Tango’ in McSweeney’s 42, 2012

    With the help of guest editor Adam Thirlwell (author of Kapow!, Visual Editions), Issue 42 is a monumental experiment in translated literature—twelve stories taken through six translators apiece, weaving into English and then back out again, gaining new twists and textures each time, just as you'd expect a Kierkegaard story brought into English by Clancy Martin and then sent into Dutch by Cees Nooteboom before being made into English again by J.M. Coetzee to do. With original texts by Kafka and Kharms and Kenji Miyazawa, and translations by Lydia Davis and David Mitchell and Zadie Smith (along with others by John Banville and Tom McCarthy and Javier Marías, and even more by Shteyngart and Eugenides and A.S. Byatt), this will be an issue unlike anything you've seen before...

     

    Follow this link to read more