New developments and a glimpse into the grotesque

After much deliberation and investigation, I have more-or-less committed to developing and expanding this blog beyond what my own limited expertise allows.

Karoo Dorpie
Karoo Dorpie

That means money of course (the extra time and effort being taken as read), but I think the payoff will be worth it. As I see it the benefits are

  •  wider exposure and the possibility of selling our products

    Testing the waters
    Testing the waters
  • expanding coverage and providing a vehicle for others to showcase their work and ideas
  • improved aesthetics and a greater spectrum of material to entice an expanded diversity of readers
  • the pleasure and challenge of taking the blog into the more interesting strata of the blogosphere

    Ready for school
    Ready for school

So I am hoping that the smallish band of current readers will join me on this journey.

Gate at dawn
Gate at dawn

One of the trends I’ve noticed is that conventional print media are increasingly dabbling in the audio-visual field. Many of the well-known names like The Atlantic, Slate, Der Spiegel and many others, have on-line photojournalism sections which are interesting both from the informational and aesthetic aspects.

Sgt F de Bruin, Dep of Prisons
Sgt F de Bruin, Dep of Prisons

A case in point is a recent reference in Der Spiegel to the American-born and raised photographer, Roger Ballen, who subsequently emigrated to make South Africa (and Africa more broadly) his stamping ground.

Tommy, Samson and a mask
Tommy, Samson and a mask

His work is marked by a brutal realism which veers into the grotesque.

Much of it falls into the “social and political commentary” but some of it creeps into a morbid voyourism and obsession with deviance.

Puppy between feet
Puppy between feet

Out of this he makes a living! And a reputation.

He started in photography aged 18 and thereafter travelled the world for 5 years producing a photographic book, Boyhood, in the process. Amazingly he then went back to college (Colorado School of Mines) graduating with a PhD in Mineral Economics in 1981.

Disliking the corporate world of the USA he came to South Africa and continued with his photography producing his book Platteland as a social commentary.

Amongst his other productions is the video “I Fink U Freeky” for the band Die Antwoord which has garnered 33 million hits on YouTube.

Dresie and Casie, twins
Dresie and Casie, twins

He went on to to create another photographic book, Outlands, which sticks to his basic style. His motivation?

” For me, photography is a diary process, a way of marking my life and making my experiences permanent. Photos are like fossils to me. They help me come to grips with my passage through time.

A couple more examples fllow below.  For full gallery see here:

Eugene on the phone
Eugene on the phone
Brian with pet pig
Brian with pet pig

Clearly not to everyone’s taste but certainly contains an emotional punch.

Mike Berger

(Remember – right clicking on the image takes you to the larger version on a separate tab)

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