roger ballen: 1969   2009 at marta herford
original content
may 06, 2012
roger ballen: 1969 2009 at marta herford



‘dresie and casie, twins, western transvaal’ by roger ballen, 1993
from the series: platteland
gelatin paper, 36 x 36 cm
all images © roger ballen and courtesy of marta herford

roger ballen: photographs 1969-2009
marta herford, herford, germany
open now until june 17th, 2012

the comprehensive exhibition features two hundred large-format, black-and-white minimalist images by new york-born
and johannesburg, south africa-based photographer roger ballen. known for his story-telling approach to his often documentary-based medium,
the selected collection of works on show, taken between 1969 to 2009, portray the unique artistic approach he has taken
over the course of his fifty year photographic practice. many of the pieces featured in the show picture his depiction of descendants
of the boers in south africa, taking a pseudo-documentary approach to what ultimately results in a poignant portrayal of the way of life
for individuals of a particular time and place.


‘man holding cat’, 1995
from the series: outland
gelatin paper, 36 x 36 cm
image © roger ballen


‘perpetrator’, 2003
from the series: shadow chamber
gelatin paper, 36 x 36 cm
image © roger ballen

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


‘rat on back’, 2003
from the series: shadow chamber
gelatin paper, 36 x 36 cm
image © roger ballen


‘prickles’, 2002
from the series: boarding house
inkjet-print, 65 x 65 cm
image © roger ballen


‘untitled’, 2009
from the series: asylum
inkjet-print, 90 x 90 cm
image © roger ballen


‘untitled’, 2009
from the series: asylum
inkjet-print, 90 x 90 cm
image © roger ballen


‘cut loose’, 2005
from the series: boarding house
inkjet-print, 65 x 65 cm
image © roger ballen


‘wall above bed, dordrecht’, 1984
from the series: dorps
gelatin paper, 36 x 36 cm
image © roger ballen


‘clown, usa’, 1969
from the series: civil rights
gelatin paper, 15 x 23 cm
image © roger ballen

unlike the now regular speedy and wide-spread approach to this method of artistic creation and distribution, ballen lingers on
each individual, allowing the honesty of his simplistic framing and straight-on depictions make visible the hidden qualities
of the person or scene pictured.


‘letting go, ceylon’, 1976
from the series: boyhood
gelatin paper, 24 x 36 cm
image © roger ballen


‘passerby, israel’, 1974
from the series: israel
gelatin paper, 23 x 15 cm
image © roger ballen

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