“Black and White Sacrament” – A Poetic Tribute to the Work of Roger Ballen

A tribute to the work of photographer and artist, Roger Ballen. The poem was typed on a vintage Sears Newport manual typewriter. Words/Picture Copyright 2015/All Rights Reserved-Luke Austin Daugherty

A tribute to the work of photographer and artist, Roger Ballen. The poem was typed on a vintage Sears Newport manual typewriter. Words/Picture Copyright 2015/All Rights Reserved-Luke Austin Daugherty

“That’s it, that’s why you invited me. That’s the image. That’s the image that penetrates everybody’s head here… ‘Uh, uh, uh. Oh, they’re disabled. Oh, what’s wrong with them? They’re weird. They’re strange. Oh, I don’t like what they look like. Oh, he’s an exploiter. Mr. Ballen is an exploiter. He took their picture. Who gave him permission?’ -Yeah, yeah, you’re missing the point.You’re missing the point. Why is the picture in your head? Why is the picture in your head? Why will this picture never leave your head? That’s the answer. That’s the question. Why? Why? Why? Yeah, it’s not because they’re so strange. Maybe it is… They stick in your head because they’re your mirror. They’re your mirror. They’re your mirror. You think you’re civilized, don’t you? Don’t you? But you’re not.” -Roger Ballen, from the video below: Is Ugliness Beauty?

Photo Credit: Roger Ballen's Facebook album: Platteland- (from his 1994 book of the same name)

Photo Credit: Roger Ballen’s Facebook album: Platteland- (from his 1994 book of the same name)

I was first introduced to the art and photography of Roger Ballen several years ago via the music and videos of Die Antwoord. His work, for me as a beholder, is all about human perspective. It is a leveler for high-mindedness. It exposes beauty in the forgotten and neglected hideous. His work gets under my skin. It makes me think and re-evaluate. It is offensive to my civilized sensibilities. Is there a higher compliment that can be given to an artist?

“Just be aware that the picture is a complex being. That everything out there is a complex being. You can’t put things into one word. Screw one word. Things aren’t ugly. Things aren’t necessarily beautiful. They are what they are. They’re multi-faceted. Multi-layered, beyond words. That’s what makes good artwork.” -Roger Ballen

For more related information, see the links and videos below. As always, thanks for reading and sharing. -Luke

Roger’s site: Roger Ballen’s official site

A Die Antwoord video directed by Roger Ballen and Ninja.

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As always, thank you for reading and sharing my blog! I am an independent poet, author, and singer/songwriter and I have my own ebay business to keep me as flexible as possible. But, writing takes time and if you appreciate what I do, if you have been moved or made to think by my writing, OR have just enjoyed something on my blog, please throw a buck or two in my tip jar!:) Your kind contribution may buy me a cup of coffee out at my next writing session. Click my easy paypal “tip jar” link that follows and THANKS! -Luke

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