A photograph begins before I begin making it. It begins deep down in some part of my mind . . . my consciousness.
Roger Ballen (b. 1950, New York) has been shooting black-and-white film for nearly 50 years, and he believes he is a member of the last generation to have grown up with this medium. His body of work, often distinguished by complex interior arrangements of people, animals, and furnishings, reveals his long-standing engagement with line and drawing.
Ballen's early vintage silver gelatin photographs show a minimal approach to line. Over time he transformed his interest into explorations of energized wall patterns created by wires, hangers, graffiti, and drawings. More recently, Ballen has come out from behind the camera lens to engage with line directly, such as in a luminous series of photographs that begins with his drawing on glass.
Ballen has lived and worked in South Africa for more than 30 years as a geologist and a full-time photographer. His mother, who was a photo editor with Magnum Photos, started a small gallery in New York. There Ballen met and was inspired by prominent photographers, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Andrè Kertèsz, and Paul Strand.