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On becoming an Artist rather than a Photographer: Roger Ballen November 28, 2018

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : American Photo Mag, Metaphor Online, Roger Ballen , trackback

Roger Ballen, renowned South African artist, addresses a question many photographers might find themselves asking internally at some point in their career: If you are a photographer, are you also an artist? Ballen answers this question with the seven points outlined below, as he methodically ponders the discipline in his thoughtful monotone.

#1 The Purpose of Art. ”Good pictures embed themselves deep inside your psyche. Why do some works stick, why are some works fleeting? If you ponder this, then you may be an artist”

#2 Redefine Your World. ”How do you define ugly? How do you define anything? 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. ”Thousands of pictures come together to make each one of my photographs. When you learn every moment is crucial, and that no picture can be repeated, then 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 of yourself to create a good picture.”

#6 Break Through Your Mind. ”If you can let go, and break through your mind, then you may be an artist.”

#7 Face Your Fears. If you confront your fears, this will certainly assist your artistic endeavors.”

Ballen’s pictures are notoriously dark, unsettling, and even difficult to confront, and his advice is fitting to such emotionally intense work. Though Ballen has an undeniably unique and recognizable aesthetic, his thoughts rings true for any photographer looking to make meaningful, worthwhile images…And maybe, if you are lucky, become an artist.




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