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Shadow Chamber
by Roger Ballen

ISBN: 9780714844664
PUBLISHER: Phaidon Press Ltd
FORMAT: Hardback
PAGES: 127
DIMENSIONS: 300mmX280mmX20mm 1329grams

Since the late 1990s, Roger Ballen's work has moved away from the category of documentary photography into the realms of fiction. Though he continued to portray people on the fringes of South African society, his subjects began to act out dark and discomfiting tableaux, providing images that are exciting and disturbing but also contain flashes of dark humour. Ballen's most recent images are painterly and sculptural in ways not immediately associated with photography. There is no digital imaging involved: everything shown happened in front of the camera. The images are completely honest, and yet they are also fabricated. In Shadow Chamber, Ballen focuses on the interactions between the people, animals and objects that inhabit his unique image space. The rooms he photographs are actual places that we know exist, but they are unsettling and strange, logical but utterly impossible: their walls are covered with scribbled drawings, stains and dangling wires, the floors are strewn with bizarre props and artefacts. Dogs, rabbits and kittens wander into the frame or are stuffed into unlikely containers. In one picture, a boy holds up a paper bag with a drawing of a bird on its side and a dead chicken hanging from the bag's bottom. Figures hide away in boxes, crouch behind overstuffed sofas and squat with their shirts pulled over their heads. The humans and animals in Ballen's photographs appear isolated, estranged and lost, yet strangely empower

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