Roger Ballen

Roger Ballen was born in New York City, New York, USA in 1950. He is a South African photographer working exclusively in black and white film processes. Ballen's work is infused with a documentary-like style, however, also portrays the balance between realism and theatrics, living and inanimate, humans and animals. Ballen's use of carefully arranged objects allows the viewer to place the human existence within the environment without the presence of a human subject. He is a master of human psychology and portrays the depths of the mind through collaboration and directing, documenting and sculpting environments. The most recent series becomes increasingly tableau, including elements of sculpture, and increasing theatrical ambiguity. 

"I have been shooting black and white film for nearly fifty years now. I believe I am part of the last generation that will grow up with this media. Black and White is a very minimalist art form and unlike color photographs does not pretend to mimic the world in a manner similar to the way the human eye might perceive. Black and White is essentially an abstract way to interpret and transform what one might refer to as reality.

My purpose in taking photographs over the past forty years has ultimately been about defining myself. It has been fundamentally a psychological and existential journey.
If an artist is one who spends his life trying to define his being, I guess I would have to call myself an artist." 

- Roger Ballen

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