Roger Ballen
[Photographer, b. 1950, New York, lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.]

 When you push the shutter and take a photo you are a photographer, but are you an artist? 
 It is my belief that the most challenging photographs are those that create a tension between what we refer to as the real and the imaginative. 
 Nothing is staged. And nothing is already there. Everything is transformed through the camera. 
 My purpose in taking photographs over the past forty years has ultimately been about defining myself. It has been fundamentally a psychological and existential journey. 
 [Photography] tells you that every second in time is different from every other second. You want people to understand that the image in front of them has something to do with the truth, and it can never be repeated. 
 The pictures are of a psychological culture, a Jungian culture, if you will. It emanates from my own psyche... It’s a hard place to get to, honestly. It has taken me many years to get to that place and to define it visually. 
 It has to start with myself. I just can’t go out and say, I’m going to help humanity and take greater pictures. That usually doesn’t work. 
 I never think about a photo before I start it. I try to let my mind relax, and then when I get there I do it. 
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