Daily Dose Pick: Roger Ballen

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Geologist-turned-photographer Roger Ballen takes haunting images of poor South Africans in surreal situations of their own making.

Ballen collaborates with his subjects to construct psychological settings — filled with wall drawings, odd objects, pets, and body parts — that he then documents in black-and-white. These nightmarish visions, which Ballen makes into prints and books, grant the viewer insight into the troubled minds of criminals, transients, witch doctors, and impoverished laborers who toil in gold mines.

Visit Roger Ballen’s website, check out his current show at Gagosian Gallery in New York, hear an interview with the artist, and buy his new Phaidon book

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Roger Ballen, Scavenging, 2007. From the book Roger Ballen: Boarding House by Roger Ballen, with introductory essay by David Travis, published by Phaidon Press, 2009, http://www.phaidon.com

Roger Ballen, Cut Loose, 2005. From the book Roger Ballen: Boarding House by Roger Ballen, with introductory essay by David Travis, published by Phaidon Press, 2009, http://www.phaidon.com

Roger Ballen, Boarding House, 2008. From the book Roger Ballen: Boarding House by Roger Ballen, with introductory essay by David Travis, published by Phaidon Press, 2009, http://www.phaidon.com

Roger Ballen, Mimicry, 2005. From the book Roger Ballen: Boarding House by Roger Ballen, with introductory essay by David Travis, published by Phaidon Press, 2009, http://www.phaidon.com