1950 · United States
Roger Ballen is one of the most important photographers of his generation. He was born in New York in 1950 but has been living and working in South Africa for over 30 years. Over the past thirty years his distinctive style of photography has evolved using a simple square format in stark and beautiful black and white. In his earlier works his connection to the tradition of documentary photography is clear but through the 1990s he developed a style he describes as 'ballenesque'.
In 2009, he presented his work for the first time in Ljubljana at Galerija Fotografija with world premiere of Boarding House and Retrospective 1982–2004 in Jakopič Gallery.
In his recent series he has employed drawings, painting, collage and sculptural techniques to create elaborate sets. Ballen has invented a new hybrid aesthetic in these works but one still rooted firmly in photography.
Thames & Hudson released The Theatre of Apparitions in 2016. In a departure from his existing oeuvre, intricately layered images occupy a space between painting, drawing and photography linking image-making and theatrical performance. In September 2017 Thames & Hudson released Ballenesque, Roger Ballen: A Retrospective, a major retrospective of his collected works.
His contribution has not been limited to stills photography and Ballen has been the creator of a number of acclaimed and exhibited short films that dovetail with his photographic series'. The collaborative film I Fink You Freeky, created for the cult band Die Antwoord in 2012, has garnered over 125 million hits on YouTube.