Photographer Roger Ballen Directs Die Antwoord Music Video

by Denis on February 6, 2012


For Roger Ballen, a photographer who has worked as a mining expert, photography is a means of drilling down into his own psychological depths. His images are obviously staged, but they are troubling in their brutal raw reality. Ballen uses recurring themes and props: wire, shadows, dirty feet, soiled bed sheets, filthy walls, boxes with rough holes cut out, crude drawings cover many surfaces. Junk is piled on junk. People and animals are in awkward, dangerous and absurd positions.

It would be easier to swallow if we could think of the characters as models or actors, following stage directions. But very many of these images seem too real. The characters look like they are really strung out on the far edges of ordinary life. Ballen has been accused of exploitation, coercion, manipulation and other bad things. He has also been praised as one of the best photographer-artists of our day.

Ballen has directed the new music video for Cape Town hip hop trio, Die Antwoord. The band’s music is characterised by its Zef references (Zef being South African slang for modern and trashy, with lots of knowingly discarded cultural references).

Of the video, Ballen said “We had really clear concepts of what we wanted to do in our heads. We started with my photographs for ideas and then mimicked them in the sets. Most of the sets started with almost like a ‘Roger Ballen still life’ and then we might have added in a mouth or foot or hand and then we went into them cinematically.”

(The text above is taken from Phaidon.com & Lens Culture.)

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by Denis on February 6, 2012

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