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Outland [Hardcover]

Roger Ballen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 59.95 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

March 9 2001 Photographie
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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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

Review

'Compelling, powerful, haunting.' (Guardian)

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and beautiful in an unusual way..... April 5 2001
Format:Hardcover
I just picked this book up today and was amazed at its sensitivity and beauty. Not everyone will enjoy it or understand this book but it has a feeling of Diane Arbus and the easiness of early Mary Ellen Mark with a kick of Ralph Eugene Meatyard. The compositions are beautiful and the inclusion of the animals are perfect.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and beautiful in an unusual way..... April 5 2001
By Busy Bee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I just picked this book up today and was amazed at its sensitivity and beauty. Not everyone will enjoy it or understand this book but it has a feeling of Diane Arbus and the easiness of early Mary Ellen Mark with a kick of Ralph Eugene Meatyard. The compositions are beautiful and the inclusion of the animals are perfect.
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary artist. May 30 2014
By Lail L. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Phenomenal work, disturbing vision. Check out Die Antwoord video "I Fink You Freaky", where R. Ballen created the sets and the atmosphere. I deeply admire Roger Ballen's creativity.
5.0 out of 5 stars Rodger Ballen Aug. 18 2013
By Neville Trickett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book, Very, very well produced. worth every penny. Highly recommended for any art photography lover. A real treasure.
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