Roger Ballen: Darkness in Photography Essay

Roger Ballen: Darkness in Photography Essay

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Susan Sontag said photographs sends across the harmlessness and helplessness of the human life steering into their own ruin. Furthermore the bond connecting photography with departure from life tortures the human race. (Sontag 1977:64)

As stated by Judith Butler, the view of Susan Sontag, visible throughout her texts claiming that the photograph can’t reflect clarification by itself, would be senseless. She indicates that we require captions and written examination to support the diverse imagery in particular. According to her, the image can solely influence us, yet not grant us the comprehension of what we perceive. (Butler 2009: 63)

Globally, different art forms do not necessarily throw their definition in your face. It should be interpreted for subsequent comprehension. (Grundberg 1990: 3) Even though the extra information such as a caption and additional background info can be beneficial to the analysis of a photograph, it is not compulsory to the interpretation and consequent emotional response. (Butler 2009: 66) So, being more dependent on personal perspective, a photograph is widely open to different kinds of interpretation.

Taking into consideration Roger Ballen’s opinion, that when the viewers take a look at a photograph they ought to experience that instant existed in time; that it is genuine. (Amison 2014: http://www.gommamag.com/v6/?p=1922) One can derive that regardless of the pain expressed in the image that it belongs to a life of the subject in the photograph - it is merely a moment within their life and even though it is crammed with narrative, it is only one fragment of the subject’s life. It’s like something occurred or is about to, yet in the particular instance, nothing is taking place; it is captured eter...


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..., R. 2005. Bleak Images make an exhilarating exhibition [Online] Available: www.rogerballen.com/articles/bleak-images-make-an-exhilirating-exhibition [2014, Feb. 16]

Grundberg, A. 1990. Crisis of the Real. New York: Aperture Foundation , Inc.

Guadagnini. W. 2009. The Visionary and Silent Theatre of Roger Ballen [Online]. Available: http://www.rogerballen.com/articles/the-visionary-and-silent-theatre-of-roger-ballen [2014, Feb. 16]

Law-Viljoen, B. 2005. Some Sort of Place: Recent Work by Roger Ballen [Online]. Available: http://www.rogerballen.com/articles/some-sort-of-place [2014, Feb. 16]

Rafferty, R. 2010. Roger Ballen at the George Eastman House [Online]. Available: http://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/rochester/profile-roger-ballen-at-the-george-eastman-house/Content?oid=2125105 [2014, Feb. 16]

Sontag, S. 1977. On Photography. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books


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