GUP Instagram Takeover: Roger Ballen



We are pleased to welcome you to the dark world of Roger Ballen (1950, NYC). He will post photographs from his latest book and film Outland during his GUP Instagram takeover, which will run for the next 10 days. As one of the most influential and important photographic artists of the 21st century Ballen never fails to confront or challenge his viewer, taking them on a journey into their own minds as he travels into the depths of his own.

Over the years he has visited numerous small 'dorps' and villages in rural parts of South Africa, where he has lived for the past thirty years. Whilst he busied himself with these eclectic groups of people, we spoke to him about the numerous projects he had rounded off, in an interview as he hopped on the train back to Amsterdam. He told us he always kept his camera at arms length during his visits, offering the opportunity to document the world that was hidden behind closed doors, along empty streets in faraway towns.

His most recent book and film, Outland, is the culmination of these discoveries over the past twenty years. Both are an honest depiction of the isolated rural whites, scarred by history, in the process of losing the privileges of apartheid which had provided them with livelihoods and sustained their identity for a generation.

Ballen continued to portray whites, but this time on the fringe of South African society. Suddenly his pictures moved from documentary photography into the realms of fiction, his characters act out of dark and discomfiting tableaux. The results are as exciting as they are disturbing; are these individuals exploited victims or just active participants within the drama of their representation?

Outland – both the book and film – will be released soon, you can read more about it on the website and be sure to keep an eye out, it's definitely a must-see. Ballen's work was also previously featured in GUP#20, the Black Issue.