For their annual keynote lecture Urban Photographers’ Association (UPA) have invited Roger Ballen to the stage. Ballen is one of the most influential and important photographic artists of the 21st century. His strange and extreme work spanning over forty years confronts the viewer and challenges them to come with him on a journey into their own minds, as he explores the deeper recesses of his own. Ballen was born in New York in 1950 but for over 30 years he has lived and worked in South Africa. He has developed a distinctive style of photography he describes as ‘documentary fiction’, which evolved from a simple square format in stark and beautiful black and white.
By integrating drawing into his photographic and video work, Ballen has not only made a lasting contribution to the field of art, but equally makes a powerful commentary about the human condition and its creative potential.
This is the opening event of this year’s UrbanPhotoFest 2017 and will be followed by a drinks reception. The following day sees Tate Britain host the annual conference Urban Encounters 2017: Cartographies.
Roger Ballen is an American-born photographer who has lived and worked in South Africa since the 1970s. His previous award-winning books include Platteland (1994), Outland (2001), Shadow Chamber (2005), Boarding House (2009), Asylum of the Birds (2014) and The Theatre of Apparitions (2016). Ballen’s photographs are collected by some of the most important institutions in the world and he has won numerous prestigious awards in photography and filmmaking. Robert J. C. Young is a British postcolonial theorist, cultural critic and historian. He is currently the Dean of Arts and Humanities at New York University Abu Dhabi.
This event is organised in partnership with and is part of UrbanPhotoFest 2017, and in collaboration with Thames & Hudson.