Roger Franklin Ballen | the artist




The artist Roger Franklin Ballen
Born April 11 1950, New York, USA.
Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Style and technique of the artist: Photography, Sydney Biennale,


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Roger Ballen
Artist’s website

Roger Ballen
Biography of the artist

Roger Ballen
Works and biography

Biography of the artist

Roger Ballen
“He has taken a medium known for its apparent factuality and singularity of vision and has transformed it into a vehicle portraying pluralism, relativism and the mortal struggles of our modern souls. Little more can be expected of art.”

Roger Ballen
In 1982, Roger Ballen began photographing the homes and people of small town South Africa. Ballenís first photographs were strongly led by his desire to define an aspect of South African culture. This reflected his position as a newcomer, stepping into a marginalised community, foregrounding the socio-economic position that his subjects held. But in recent photographs shown here, taken in towns on the outskirts of Johannesburg and Pretoria, Ballen has moved further and further from attempting to document a culture…

Roger Ballen
“One thing I [was] trying to define,” Ballen says of his shift away from portraiture, “was, ‘Is chaos fundamental to the world around us, or is order?’” This isn’t the type of question that most photographers I know set out to answer, and it’s the kind of critical inquiry that’s thwarted when audiences have reactionary judgments about the exploitation issue. In the countless hours I’ve spent considering Ballen’s work since that first committee meeting, I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that no amount of mental gymnastics could extinguish my belief that his early works were somewhat exploitative (a charge I do not hold to any of his later work)…



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