Roger Ballen is among the most talented and successful photographic artists in the world today. He was kind enough to agree to an extensive interview last month, and is also allowing us to publish images from two forthcoming books.
“Photography is like going into the mineshaft”, says Roger Ballen, and well he should know. As a geologist, his fieldwork sometimes has taken him 2 kilometers under the earth’s surface, in search of diamonds, gold, and other minerals. These subterranean pursuits have deeply influenced him, supporting his artistic development, which he likens to a psychological […]
Robert Enright: You’ve talked about being inundated by photographs as a child because your mother was an editor at Magnum. Roger Ballen: There were all these pictures on the wall that had been given to us by various photographers, or which my mother bought. I ended up assimilating all sorts of pictures and by the […]
Today, leafing through Roger Ballen’s 2005 publication Shadow Chamber, one becomes aware of an element that might have passed almost unnoticed when that book first came out. The photographer, whose book Outland had been published in 2001, opened this new volume with four images: a portrait, comparable to those that had initially brought attention to […]
“I’ve always thought that a believable, genuinely realistic ambiguity constitutes the greatest form of expression. And for different reasons. Firstly, nobody likes the truth of what is going on to be explained to him. And what is perhaps even more important is that nobody actually knows what is real or what really is going on.” […]
Dream-sense can be unsettling in its dense, archetypal symbolism, and while some will argue that it’s nothing more than the brain defragging the mess of information it must process, it’s the sense that most interests Johannesburg, South Africa-based American photographer Roger Ballen, whose work can be seen at the George Eastman House through June 6.
No photographic, or even artistic, category quite encompasses the complicated, engrossing, and at times unsettling images in South Africa-based artist Roger Ballen’s new series Boarding House, 2003-2008, several dozen images from which made up this large exhibition.
Photography has always walked a crest between reality and fiction, maintaining a precarious balance which, depending upon the stylistic choices of the individual photographer, tilts now towards the documentary, now towards invention; now towards the world as it outwardly seems, now towards its reworking as part of a spatial and narrative construction devised by the […]
A photograph that defies notions of place, subject, or era, can become something quite unfamiliar. Photography’s visual reference points, rendered by the simple process of exposing film to light, map our perception of reality despite the concerns of modern and post-modern theory.
When Roger Ballen talks about his body of work, it is seldom in terms of social commentary. If the personal history of one of his sitters seems unavoidable, Ballen addresses the narrative only in the broadest possible way. To the artist, the images of small-town South Africa contain interplay of light and dark, painterly lines […]