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Roger Ballen

9 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0714840580 / ISBN 13: 9780714840581
Published by Phaidon, new york, 2001
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Rob Warren Books (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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Fine in a Near fine dust wrapper. Bookseller Inventory # 003405

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Outland

Publisher: Phaidon, new york

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Available again in hardback, Outland is the culmination of twenty years' work for artist-photographer Roger Ballen. His photographs of whites on the fringes of South African society are disturbing, exciting and impossible to forget.


You have never seen photographs like these before--black-and-white images of people who seem damaged and defective, yet oddly sympathetic, posed in ways that suggest the pitiless workings of heredity and environment. Using a shallow, stagelike space, Roger Ballen gets in close to his subjects--men, women, and children living in remote parts of South Africa.

A woman in a soiled dress shouts at a man whose back is turned--or at the barking dog rearing over his shoulder. A plump fellow in a security guard's uniform stares, wide-eyed, at the camera while one of his meaty hands pins a tiny puppy against the wall. On a patch of raked dirt, a sleeping baby in underpants lies across the intersection of two mysterious tangled lengths of string.

These photographs pose blacks and whites together in ways that suggest enigmatic playfulness or wordless acceptance. In one image, a white woman, blind in one eye, with a face like a rotten apple, wraps her arms around two pug dogs. Next to her, a black woman in a smock stands patiently. Above them, large portraits of children (where are they now?) hang on the dirty wall. It is a scene of care and neglect, loss and resignation.

Ballen's current work occupies an odd niche between documentary and staged photography. The sitters are real people, seemingly in their own environments, and the photographer dignifies them by using their proper names in the captions. But he poses them with live and inanimate objects--a fish, a hammer, a broken baby carriage--in ways that heighten the tension and ambivalence of their situations. Even electrical wire strung on the wall creates a nervous force field. It's as if Diane Arbus and Robert Frank had joined forces with a master of German expressionist theater. --Cathy Curtis

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