Born in 1950, Roger Ballen has lived and worked in Johannesburg, South Africa for almost 30 years. Son of a photo editor for the Magnum agency, he worked as a geologist and mine consultant before starting out as a self-taught photographer photographing small towns and inhabitants of rural South Africa. His images are themselves statements of strong social content and disturbing psychological studies.
Roger Ballen challenges the ways in which we perceive the “reality” of photography. His ambiguous and surprising portraits of people, animals or objects posing in rooms that resemble cells occupy the gray space between reality and fiction, blurring the boundaries between reportage photography and artistic forms such as painting and sculpture.