Roger Ballen was born in New York. He moved to Johannesburg in 1982 where he lives and works.
He is one of the most influential and important photographic artists of the 21st century; his photographs span over forty years. Ballen’s strange and extreme works confront the viewer and challenge them to come with him on a journey into their own minds as he explores the deeper recesses of his own.
His contribution has not been limited to stills photography. Ballen has been the creator of many acclaimed and exhibited short films that dovetail with his photographic series’. The collaborative film I Fink You Freeky, created for the cult band Die Antwoord in 2012, has garnered over 85-million hits on YouTube.
Roger Ballen’s work is included in more than forty prestigious museum collections, among which Tate Britain, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne; and Maison Europeene de la Photographie, Paris, to name a few.
His first photography book, Boyhood was published in the late 1970s, followed by Dorps in 1986, Platteland in 1994 and Outland in 2001, among others. His most recent series, Asylum of the Birds was published by Thames & Hudson in March 2014. Among his many awards, he was the winner of the Rencontres d'Alres in 2002 and the Art Directors Club Award in 2006. His I Fink U Freeky video won the award for best video at the Portuguese festival Short Vila do Conde International Film Festival in 2012.