Striking, ambiguous images from Johannesburg-based photographer Roger Ballen.
Since the late 1990s, Roger Ballen’s work has moved away from the category of documentary photography and into the realms of fiction. Though he continues to portray people on the fringes of South African society, his subjects began to act out dark and disconcerting tableaux, providing images that are as exciting as they are disturbing - undermined by flashes of dark humour.
In Shadow Chamber, Ballen focuses on the interactions between the people, animals and objects that inhabit his unique image space. The rooms in his pictures are actual places that we know to exist, yet they are made unsettling and strange, logical yet utterly impossible. The human and animal beings in Ballen’s photographs appear isolated, estranged and lost, yet strangely empowered at the same time.
In 2002, Ballen was named Photographer of the Year by Rencontres d’Arles. His work is included in numerous important private and public collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Le Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Johannesburg Art Museum, South Africa; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.