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Roger Ballen, 2014 © Marguerite Rossouw

The New York-born photographer, Roger Ballen, who has been based in South Africa for over thirty years, belongs to the most recognized and innovative photographers of his generation.
The son of a Magnum Photo editor, Roger Ballen became involved in photography at the age of thirteen. After graduating with a degree in psychology in 1972 from the University of California, Berkeley, he did a PhD in Mineral Economics, which he completed in 1982. It was at this point that Ballen decided to buy a 6x6 Rolleiflex. The square format of this camera, defines all his photographs as it is the perfect form in which all dimensions are equally represented.
Dedicated to black and white photographs and being a master of this media, Roger Ballen uses his camera to define something both indescribable and radical: the psyche. Images are first set up and then photographed and are intended as the manifestations of the most hidden levels of ourselves. Archetypes rise to the surface, more or less abruptly, and are prevalent in the images. As mysterious as they are explicit, the works of Roger Ballen invite epiphanies, moments enabling visitors to grasp the inexplicable.
Roger Ballen was born in New York in 1950. In 1982 he moved to Johannesburg where he lives and works. His first photography book, Boyhood was published in the late 1970s, followed by Dorps in 1986, Platteland in 1994 and Outland in 2001, among others. His most recent series, Asylum of the Birds was published by Thames & Hudson in March 2014. Among his many awards, he was winner of the Rencontres d'Alres in 2002 and the Art Directors Club Award in 2006. His I Fink U Freeky video won the award for best video at the Portuguese festival Short Vila do Conde International Film Festival in 2012. Roger Ballen's works are included in several of the most important contemporary art collections in the world, including the Tate Britain collection and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.


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