Roger Ballen is one of the most important photographers of the 21st century, and one of the few still working in black and white photography.
Roger Ballen is an American photographer living in Johannesburg, South Africa, and working in its surrounds since the 1970s. His body of work, developed over a period of 40 years, began in the documentary field but his approach has widened to allow for a fictionalized visual dialogue between individuals, their architectural space, found objects and domesticated animals. His approach has been hailed as among the most unusual and exciting developments in contemporary photography.
This will be a hands on workshop with shooting sessions, individual assignments, daily group discussion and editing sessions.
You’ll be expected to fully immerse yourself, take risks and push your boundaries in order to move forward into another level in your photography.
Master Class – Projections
Roger Ballen will spend time talking about his own work and the different projects he has worked on.
Portfolios Reviews and Projects Definition
Each participant will receive an in-depth critique of their work which will also be used as a jumping board for workshop assignments. In order to make the most of the 3 workshop days, participants are highly encouraged to come to the workshop with their assignment in progress. The assignment will have been sent a couple of weeks before the workshop starts.
The group will go to an antique market and/or second hand shop in order for the participants to find objects of their choice. We will then go to a shooting location where participants will be asked to shoot their objects.
Master Class – Projections
Roger Ballen will spend time talking about his own work and the different projects he has worked on. He will also share videos of his work.
Review of Images
Through the selection and discussion of the best images, the participants will work towards developing their own photographic style and hopefully, see their overall approach improve.
The group goes to a shooting location where participants will be asked to shoot their objects.
Review of Images
Through the selection and discussion of the best images of the day, the participants will work towards developing their own photographic style and hopefully, see their overall approach improve.
Final Portfolio Editing
Each participant will work on a final portfolio of their work. The final editing and sequencing is made during a one-to-one session with Roger Ballen, participants are encouraged to attend the sessions of each other. Once the final edit is done, the participants may work on the post-process. They are then to write a personal statement on the work and on themselves.
Born in New York City in 1950, Roger Ballen has lived and worked in Johannesburg, South Africa for almost 30 years. From 1982 to 2016 he produced many series of works which evolved from photo-journalism to a unique artistic vision. Ballen’s work has been shown in important institutions throughout the world and is represented in many museum collections such as Biblioteque Nationale, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Tate Modern, London, UK; Museum Folkswang, Essen, Germany and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.
In the series Platteland: Images from Rural South Africa (1994) Ballen focused on the inhabitants of small rural towns and approached his subjects with a combination of empathy and with the unflinching eye of a photojournalist. Platteland vividly brought to life the precarious existence of the people who inhabit the unseen countryside.
Texture, composition and an assortment of both objects and animals increasingly have become part of the frame. In subsequent books Outland (2001) and Shadow Chamber (2005) seemingly incompatible objects coexist comfortably with sense of authenticity. To the uninitiated the assortment of 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.
The series of works from Boarding House (2009) are almost exclusively painterly and sculptural. The human and animal subjects have all but disappeared and function more like stage props or sculptural elements within the composition.
The series of works titled Asylum of the Birds (2014) approximates a point between surrealism and Art Brut. While these movements originated from painting, Ballen’s images are photographs, and as a result he has to work within the confines of his subjects’ living spaces.
The Theatre of the Apparitions was released September 2016. In a departure from his existing oeuvre, intricately layered images occupy a space between painting, drawing and photography linking image-making and theatrical performance.
Ballen’s most recent exhibitions have been held in Berlin, Brescia, Cape Town, New York City, Oaxaca and Sydney.
Only 14 students will be admitted into the workshop. Students will be granted admission to the workshop based on a review of their photographs. If the candidate is accepted, further details will be sent to the participant prior to the workshop.
The $975 ($925 discounted) fee does not include transport, accommodation or other expenses.
If you would like to participate in more than one Festival workshop, we offer a 20% discount on each additional workshop attended.
- Cancellations before April 1, 2017 will be given a full refund minus a $75 processing fee.
- Cancellations after April 1, 2017 will only be eligible for a refund if we can fill your spot.