Roger Ballen Boarding House

01 Terrorized, 2006 P1119 RT

Terrorized, 2006

02 Prickles, 2002 P516 RT

Prickles, 2002

03 Bewilderment, 2005 P1104 RT

Bewilderment, 2005

04 Contemplation, 2004 P864 RT

Contemplation, 2004

05 Squawk, 2005 P1092 RT

Squawk, 2005

06 Chuckles, 2007 P1169 RT

Chuckles, 2007

07 Upseedaisy, 2008

Upseedaisy, 2008

08 Pathos, 2005 P1057 RT

Pathos, 2005

09 Ghost room, 2007

Ghost room, 2007

10 Metamorphosis, 2006

Metamorphosis, 2006

11 Stalked, 2005

Stalked, 2005

12 Celebration, 2007 P1145 RT

Celebration, 2007

13 Clinging, 2005 P1090 RT

Clinging, 2005

14 Zebra room, 2007

Zebra room, 2007

15 Eulogy, 2004

Eulogy, 2004

16 Companion, 2006 P1126 RT

Companion, 2006

17 Bite, 2007 P1168 RT

Bite, 2007

18 Accomplice, 2006

Accomplice, 2006

19 Culmination, 2007 P1174 RT

Culmination, 2007

20 Predators, 2007 P1171 RT

Predators, 2007


The focus of these photos is on a strange and alluring place near Johannesburg that Ballen calls the Boarding House.  It is crowded with poor workers, transients, criminals hiding from the law, witchdoctors, children, pet animals and insects.  There are stains, marks and mysterious drawings everywhere.

These photographs are like images from a waking dream – compelling, thought provoking and filled with layers of rich detail.  The images in Boarding House blur the lines between documentary photography and art forms such as painting, theatre and sculpture – they make us question everything we see.

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The images from the series Boarding House are published by Phaidon Press titled Boarding House.
All images © courtesy of Roger Ballen

www.rogerballen.com