Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chad Davis, A review of Rogor Ballen

   Roger Ballen is a photographer who lives in South Africa and shoots primarily black and white film photography.  He believes that shooting in this medium not only captures the subject and idea but is an abstract representation of the figure or premise due to the nature of the black and white film.  In his belief the use of black and white removes any notion of reality from the images he takes and presents them to the viewer in a way one would view an abstracted painting, seeing the idea of the artist but without the perfection of accurate realism.  He has been photographing for nearly forty years in this medium and to this day still uses his African surroundings to influence and inspire him.  A majority of his work, both installations and photographs, are derived from people, places, and things that are relevant or natural to South Africa.  For example, towns of South Africa, rural areas and a boarding house are examples of the work he has done. 
62_Culmination, 2007
            I decided to use his series “Boarding House” to compare images and ideas to deduce the review.  It appears to me as a viewer that his purpose for this series was to present the living conditions with which these children are subjected to along with a representation or exaggeration to how they were feeling emotionally.  The use of his medium, black and white film, lends itself perfectly to the mood and atmosphere with which he is portraying to the public.  It helps to create this melancholy feeling in the viewer by removing the color in the area and living nothing but the harsh shadows and highlights to further augment the suffering in the children.  A number of his compositions either involve children in an impromptu portrait, close-up images to show the detail of the conditions of life such as “Predators” or photographs of the rooms where the children sleep and eat. 

65_Predators, 200767_Fragments, 2005

      To view the series in its entirety:

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