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ROGER BALLEN
[b. 1950] American artist living in Johannesburg
The photo is an abstraction of reality, which people should not confuse with reality itself. - Roger Ballen - 50 Contemporary Photographers You Should Know by Florian Heine, Brad Finger

When I create photographs, I often travel deep into my own interior place where dreams and many of my images originate. I see my photographs as mirrors, reflections, connecters that challenge the mind. - Roger Ballen - 50 Contemporary Photographers You Should Know by Florian Heine, Brad Finger

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. - Roger Ballen

It is my belief that the most challenging photographs are those that create a tension between what we refer to as the real and the imaginative. - Roger Ballen

When you push the shutter and take a photo you are a photographer, but are you an artist? - Roger Ballen

Nothing is staged. And nothing is already there. Everything is transformed through the camera. - Roger Ballen

[Photography] tells you that every second in time is different from every other second. You want people to understand that the image in front of them has something to do with the truth, and it can never be repeated. - Roger Ballen

The thing that influences me the most is my own pictures. - Roger Ballen

[My] goal as an artist is to create increasingly complex images with greater and greater clarity of form and intensity of vision. - Roger Ballen

It has to start with myself. I just can’t go out and say, I’m going to help humanity and take greater pictures. That usually doesn’t work. - Roger Ballen

I never think about a photo before I start it. I try to let my mind relax, and then when I get there I do it. - Roger Ballen

A lot of photography is about the unexpected happening during the time that you do the work. So it’s not something that you can really predict. - Roger Ballen

In the end, I believe that the most important influence on my aesthetic has been the photographs I have taken. - Roger Ballen

The pictures are of a psychological culture, a Jungian culture, if you will. It emanates from my own psyche... It’s a hard place to get to, honestly. It has taken me many years to get to that place and to define it visually. - Roger Ballen

You need to travel deep inside yourself to create a good picture. - Roger Ballen

I don’t have any particular ideas about what I want to do…. I just relax and keep a focused mind and make the photographs. - Roger Ballen

Because photography is such an easy medium to master technically, especially with today’s cameras, people don’t realize that it’s not just being able to pick up a camera. When I lift that camera up to take a picture, I’ve gone through thousands of steps to get to that point. That’s what you’re really seeing; it’s a complex view of the world, through my imagination, through my experiences. - Roger Ballen

Every time you push the button of the camera you create a new reality. - Roger Ballen

The essence of photography is freezing minute periods of time. The mind has to believe that you’ve captured a genuine moment, because that is the purpose of photography. - Roger Ballen

You can’t just set things up and photograph them and expect the picture to “zap.” It is very important that the mind feels that there is a moment of truth or a moment of authenticity. It’s really crucial, because if the artist’s hand is seen as too strong, the pictures seem either dead or contrived. - Roger Ballen

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