New York City born photographer/artist Roger Ballen spent the better part of the last four decades in Johannesburg, South Africa. In that time he has produced a body of work that has been described as a fictionalized visual dialogued 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.
There is no doubt that Ballen has mastered the art of capturing images that stick with you, and he has a question for us all: "When you push the shutter, take a photo, you are a photographer, but are you an artist?" So what are some of the things that make a photographer an artist? Here are seven thoughts from Ballen to help you answer that question and to become a more artistic shooter.
1. The Purpose of Art:
"Why do some works stick? Why are some works fleeting? If you ponder this then you may be an artist."
2. Redefine Your World:
"If you redefine your understanding of words then you may be an artist."
3. Visual Relationships:
"When you learn to see strong, complex visual relationships beyond words then you may be an artist."
4. A Vision Is Unique:
"When you learn every moment is crucial and that no picture can be repeated than you may be an artist."
5. Search Within:
"Every time you push the button of the camera you create a new reality. You need to travel deep inside yourself to create a good picture."
6. Break Through Your Mind:
"If you can let go and break through your mind than you may be an artist."
7. Face Your Fears:
"If you confront your fears this will certainly assist your artistic endeavors."
All images are © Roger Ballen. Snippets from Roger Ballen's "Asylum of the Birds" and "Outland" videos were used in this video. You can find these videos on Roger Ballen's YouTube channel.