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

 Nothing is staged. And nothing is already there. Everything is transformed through the camera. 
 [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. 
 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. 
 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. 
 A lot of photography is about the unexpected happening during the time that you do the work. So it’s not something that you can really predict. 
 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. 
 In the end, I believe that the most important influence on my aesthetic has been the photographs I have taken. 
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