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Roger Ballen

American-South African, born 1950

Biography

Roger Ballen has lived and worked in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the past three decades. His black-and-white photography has shifted from an early focus on documentary and photojournalism—such as the 1994 series "Platteland: Images From Rural South Africa," which depicted the poor and socially outcast—to staged, painterly compositions of private, surreal worlds, many without human subjects. In the 2009 series "Boarding House," animals, wall drawings, and objects like furniture and electric wire (a reappearing visual) combine to yield ambiguous and discomfiting images, recalling artists such as Diane Arbus.

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