The aim of the class is to enable students the ability to more effectively express their own psychological identities, better integrate the subjectivity that is involved in aesthetic photography with the science of photography, analyse the aesthetics of a photograph, better understand the aesthetics of Roger Ballen’s photography and his artistic practice as well as a better understanding of the business of art photography and what it entails.
Roger Ballen b. 1950, New York City. Roger Ballen is one of the most important photographers of his generation, one of the few still working in black and white photography. Ballen has lived and worked in Johannesburg for over 30 years. While working as a geologist, he began documenting the secluded small mining towns in South Africa where the interiors and the people he encountered in them led him to a body of work not only a social critique but also a unique engagement with metaphors of the human psyche within his images.
From 2000 his work evolved into an assortment of texture and composition of both objects and animals. In these works, seemingly incompatible objects may seem arbitrary but upon closer inspection one can discern Ballen’s ability to bring out the interrelationship between the different objects, the people, their forms and arrangement as well as their metaphysical and emotive qualities.
Ballen has published numerous books of his work namely Dorps, Platteland, Outland, Shadow Chamber, Boarding House, Asylum (2014) and his work has been shown in important institutions throughout the world, represented in many Museum Collections such as Biblioteque Nationale; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Tate Modern, London, UK, Museum Folkswang, Essen, Germany and Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.