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? 
 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. 
 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. 
 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. 
 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. 
 The thing that influences me the most is my own pictures. 
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