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Outland

Hardcover: 114 pages
61 Duotone Photos
Publisher: Phaidon Press; 1st Edition. edition (March 26, 2001)
Language: English

Outland is one of the most extraordinary photographic documents of the late twentieth century. Roger Ballen's photographs of whites on the fringe of South African society are disturbing, exciting and impossible to forget.

Outland is the culmination of almost twenty years' work for artist-photographer Roger Ballen. After beginning in the early 1980s by documenting the small ‘dorps’ or villages of rural South Africa, by the late 1980s and early 1990s Ballen moved on to photographing their inhabitants: isolated rural whites, scarred by history, in the process of losing the privileges of apartheid which had provided them livelihoods and sustained their identity for a generation. The results were shocking, both powerful social statements and disturbing psychological studies.

Through the late 1990s and into 2000, Ballen’s work progressed again. He continued to portray whites on the fringe of South African society, not just in rural areas but also in and around Johannesburg. Where previously his pictures, however troubling, fell firmly into the category of documentary photography, his new work moves into the realms of fiction. Ballen’s subjects and characters begin to act out dark and discomfiting tableaux, providing images which are exciting and disturbing in equal measure. One is forced to wonder whether they are exploited victims, colluding directly in their own ridicule, or newly empowered and active participants within the drama of their representation.

Outland was named Best Photographic book of the Year at PhotoEspana 2001, Madrid, Spain.


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