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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Not political, but ‘psychological’ – Roger Ballen launches his latest book and exhibition, The House Project

Roger Ballen

By Lungile Sojini

The House ProjectPhotographer Roger Ballen launched his new photobook and exhibition The House Project at Gallery MOMO in Parktown, Johannesburg recently.

The book draws on the psychological works of Carl Gustav Jung, the man credited with founding Analytical Psychology, a branch of psychology that not only looks at a person’s history but their current circumstances for “future growth and development” as well.

Jung’s interest in psychology was borne out of his discovery of psychosis, a disease of the mind in which one loses contact with reality. This led him to Burgholzli hospital at the University of Zurich in Switzerland where he worked with the famed Eugen Bleuler. Bleuler is credited for coining the term “schizophrenia”.

Describing the genesis of The House Project at the launch, Ballen said: “The book started when I was with the [Italian] author, Didi [Bozzini] in Stockholm. She had written the introduction to two previous books: Asylum of the Birds and Roger Ballen’s Theater of the Absurd. So we became very friendly during my show in Stockholm. Didi came to the opening and said, ‘I have a good idea. Why don’t you and I work on a project called The House?’”

Explaining the meaning behind the title, Ballen said: “The house could be broken up into different levels, different floors. Each floor representing a place of human condition, a place of human mind.”

The best way to think of The House Project is to think of it as a musician’s compilation of his or her best songs over the years; more like Ballen’s finest works compiled in a single place.

The book is a mixture of pictures from different series, rather than a mixture of pictures “taken in one time”, Ballen explained at the launch.

In Platteland, possibly his most famous and controversial book, his trademark black and white photographs raised the ire of white folks, as his targets or focus in those photographs were marginalised and mentally unstable white people, you could say.

22 years later, Ballen took time to reminisce about those heady days, commenting on the response and backlash from the people who found his work offensive.

“At the time, they were very defensive and offended. They were very concerned about their image cause they tried to present themselves as strong and totalitarian and in charge. And I showed a group of white people, they couldn’t deal with the chaos around,” said Ballen.

“It shocked the country and became a big talking point in the world because the media had always focused on this strong militaristic government and never really dealt with [these kinds of images].”

As much as Ballen denies any of his works being political; instead explaining them as “psychological”, it’s very hard, in a country like South Africa, to dismiss their political potency.

As to whether the New York-born but Johannesburg resident artist considers himself to be a New Yorker or a Joburger, Ballen was at odds to say which is which.

“I consider myself a Homo sapien on planet earth, under the clouds and stars, walking on the ground for a short time,” the photographer said.

OutlandAsylum of the BirdsShadow ChamberRoger Ballen: Die Antwoord


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Lungile Sojini (@success_mail) tweeted live from the event:



Facebook gallery


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Winners of the 2016 Fourthwall Books Photobook Award for African photographers announced

Alert! The winners of the inaugural Fourthwall Books Photobook Award for African photographers have been announced.

The independent publisher will launch the annual award with two remarkable photographers, who were announced as joint winners today.

South African photographer George Mahashe, a PhD Fine Art candidate at University of Cape Town, originally from Limpopo, shares the award with Ivory Coast photographer Joana Choumali.

Both of these extraordinary artists will be working with Fourthwall Books to produce their books this year.

Congratulations to Mahashe and Choumali! We look forward to seeing the end result.

Press release:


Winners of the 2016 Fourthwall Books Photobook Award

Joana Choumali (Ivory Coast) and George Mahashe (South Africa) are the joint winners of the 2016 Fourthwall Books Photobook Award.

In selecting Choumali’s work Hââbré: The Last Generation, the jury remarked on the strength of these portraits of men and women with facial scarification. The subjects of Choumali’s photographs may, owing to political and social pressure, be the last people in Abidjan to wear these ritual facial markings.

In Mahashe’s Gae – Lebowa, the photographer’s record of excursions to his home of Bolobedu in Limpopo Province, provides insight into the notion of home in relation to an indigenous archive and colonial history. The jury was pleased to see a sustained and unusual engagement with the traditions, history and contemporary life of a rural community.

The Fourthwall Books Photobook Award, the first such award in Africa, is aimed at promoting the work of new and established photographers on the continent. It is awarded to photographers who have produced an excellent body of work suited to publication in book format.

Working closely with Fourthwall Books, Johannesburg, Choumali and Mahashe will produce their books in 2016.

Take a look at some previous publications by Fourthwall Books:

WaitingPlatinumGood RiddanceSlow FiresBreyten Breytenbach - A Monologue in Two Voices


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Don’t miss the launch of Roger Ballen’s new book and exhibition The House Project at Gallery MOMO, Parktown

Roger Ballen Exhibition at Gallery MOMO

The House ProjectRoger Ballen is one of the most influential and important photographic artists of the 21st century. His work spans over 40 years and confronts viewers by challenging their perceptions as they look at the world through his eyes.

Ballen’s latest collection of work, a book and exhibition titled The House Project, will be launched at Gallery MOMO, Parktown North on Thursday, 21 January. Fans will be able to view the exhibition after that at both the Parktown and Cape Town galleries.

The House Project is a unique collaboration between photographer Ballen and writer Didi Bozzini. It looks back at Ballen’s career through the house as a metaphor for the mind:

The mind is like a house and the house is like the mind. One can move from the basement to the attic by climbing stairs in the house or by a corresponding state whereby one moves from the deeper untouched consciousness to a place that is linked with the ethereal.

– Roger Ballen

Don’t miss this!

Launch Details


OutlandAsylum of the BirdsShadow ChamberRoger Ballen: Die Antwoord


Book Details

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Don’t miss the launch of Classic Passion by Johnathan Andrews and the #theoryofAPIS Photo Challenge at Skoobs

Invite to the launch of Classic Passion

Classic Passion: [(a+b)…Skoobs Theatre of Books would like to invite you to join them for the launch of Johnathan Andrews’s new book, Classic Passion: [(a+b)….

The book launch will coincide with the launch of the #theoryofAPIS Photo Challenge. Andrews will be speaking about his book, which explains the theory of Applied Photographic Inspiration (APIS) in full, and officially open the photo challenge.

Richard Cock will then take the microphone to speak about the upcoming Johannesburg International Mozart Festival (JIMF), leading to a special recital by two artists who will be performing there.

The event takes place on Thursday, 21 January and will start at 6 for 6:30 PM. Dress code is cocktail.

See you there!

Event Details

About the book

After thousands of hours behind the lens, and with hundreds of hours photographic teaching experience, renowned photographer Johnathan Andrews has developed the Theory of Applied Photographic Inspiration (APIS) – aka #theoryofAPIS.

“The theory is a formula for reasoning which could be applied to creative photographic imagery that requires planning and inspiration to be successfully executed” Andrews says. “The theory is a fairly simple hybrid mathematical calculation. It can be used in the application process of any creative discipline. Although APIS is in the beta phase, I believe that in sharing the principles of the theory at this early stage, photographers will perceive the preproduction creative photographic process in a different light, and the theory will contribute to an alternative understanding – and even stimulate photographic innovation.”

Prior to conceiving the theory, Andrews spent years carefully studying a selected number of elements applicable to the preproduction processes. These processes are vital to the creation of expressive photography, and the resulting images. The key is to capture images of a high standard, but equally, to be able to “capture the essence” of what is in the creative mind of the photographer or any creative professional. “The theory promises the practitioner, a fresh and deliberate creative stimulus driven by passion for photography and visual expression. The AIPS theory could even help create the energy to conceive and capture the very essence of the finest images the world will ever see” says Johnathan.

Classic Passion [(a+b) … deals with the first segment of the APIS calculation, and is the initial offering of the Theory of APIS series of books.
Discover how the theory comes to life, as Johnathan links it to music!

Classic Passion [(a+b) … features a special photographic tribute to the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival (JIMF), to honour the devotion and dedication of Richard Cock and Florian Uhlig who have been hosting one of the finest annual music festivals in South Africa.

Book Details

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Photos from the 2015 Open Book Festival

The 2015 Open Book Festival is in full swing with writers, readers and everyone in between gathered in Cape Town for the biggest boekjol Cape Town has ever seen!

Thanks to the wonders of Twitter, you can follow all the social media chatter associated with the event.

The Books LIVE team will be tweeting live from the festival: Jennifer Malec (@projectjennifer), Helené Prinsloo (@helenayp), Erin Devenish (@ErinDevenish811), Annetjie van Wynegaard (@Annetjievw) – so give us a follow for all the latest and greatest.

Liesl Jobson is out and about too and has taken some great photographs of all the action.

See if you can spot your favourite author, or even yourself:

Opening ceremony:

The 2015 Open Book Festival opened with a bang last night at The Book Lounge and Liesl Jobson was there to snap all the action. Can you spot your favourite author?

Posted by Books LIVE on Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Day 1: 9 September 2015

Photos from the first day of the 2015 Open Book Festival, happening in Cape Town from 9 – 13 September.Books LIVE…

Posted by Books LIVE on Thursday, 10 September 2015


Day 2: 10 September 2015

Photos from the second day of the 2015 Open Book Festival, happening in Cape Town from 9 – 13 SeptemberBooks LIVE…

Posted by Books LIVE on Friday, 11 September 2015

Day 3: 11 September 2015


Photos from the third day of the 2015 Open Book Festival, happening in Cape Town from 9 – 13 SeptemberBooks LIVE…

Posted by Books LIVE on Saturday, 12 September 2015

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Fourthwall Books is Launching the Inaugural Photobook Award for African Photographers

Fourthwall Books, an independent publisher that produces art and photography books with a particular focus on Johannesburg, are launching a new award for African photographers.

For this award, experts in the field of photography seek out photography projects that are “original, risk-taking and important”. A panel of judges, to be convened in August, will announce the winner of this year’s award at the Joburg Art Fair on Saturday, 12 September.

Lisa King’s book Sometimes I make money one day of the week will be launched at the same time, as part of the inaugural event.

Read more about King’s photography on Fourthwall Books:

Four Photographs is a selection from Lisa King’s ongoing body of work exploring Zimbabwe’s Country Clubs, which she has been photographing and researching since 2011. This body of work forms the basis of her MA in History of Art at Wits University.

The portfolio is being sold to raise funds for the publication of the artist’s book Sometimes I Make Money One Day of the Week, a visual study of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, one of the last remaining manual or “open outcry” trading systems.

Take a look at some of Fourthwall Books’ previous publications:

WaitingPlatinumGood RiddanceSlow FiresBreyten Breytenbach - A Monologue in Two Voices

Press Release

Launch of the Fourthwall Books Photobook Award

Fourthwall Books, an independent publisher based in Johannesburg, South Africa, is launching a photography award for African photographers. The award is aimed at promoting the work, through book publication, of new and established photographers on the continent. It will be awarded to photographers who have an excellent body of work that is suited to book format.

The winner of the annual award will work closely with Fourthwall Books to produce a book to be published in an edition of 500. The award is being funded by a group of collectors and photography enthusiasts. Once the winner has been announced, they will be supported by one funder. The funder will, however, have no influence on the outcome of the award or on the editorial decisions of the photographer and the publisher.

This is not an open-submission award. Instead, experts in the field of photography from across the continent will nominate projects that they regard as being original, risk-taking and important. The photographers they choose will have to demonstrate ample evidence of having considered the book as a format for the representation of their body of work. They must show original thinking in regard to the book-in-print and their work must offer the potential for a coherent, original and dynamic publication.

Photographers nominated in one year who do not receive the award may be considered for the award the following year.

The work will be exhibited as a portfolio at a launch of the book at Fourthwall Books in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

A panel of independent judges will be announced in August and the winner will be announced at the Fourthwall stand of the Joburg Art Fair on Saturday 12 September.

The inaugural publication of the award, Sometimes I make money one day of the week by Lisa King will be launched on the same day.


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Join Jason Larkin for the Launch of Waiting at Fourthwall Books as Part of First Thursdays Johannesburg

WaitingFourthwall Books (South Africa) and Photoworks (United Kingdom) would like to invite you to the launch of Waiting by Jason Larkin as part of the SA-UK Seasons 2014 & 2015.

While living in Johannesburg, British photographer Jason Larkin was struck by the ever-present reality of people waiting. He was drawn to those who sought shelter from the harsh summer sun by positioning themselves in the shade. Here the features of individuals are obscured, leaving only the subtlety of posture and the details of place. Omitting any reference to the purpose or outcome of each wait, Larkin simply records, beside each image, the duration of the wait.

As part of the project, the website will be launched in July 2015. Along with the photographs, it will host a collection of essays, poems and stories on the theme of waiting. In addition, an outdoor exhibition of Larkin’s images will be on show in Braamfontein for the month of July. A map showing the location of each image will be available at Fourthwall Books.

Larkin is a British photographer, internationally recognised for his long-term social documentary projects, environmental portraiture and landscape reportage. He lived in Johannesburg from 2011 to 2013.

This project has been supported by the SA-UK Seasons 2014 & 2015, a partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa and the British Council. The launch forms part of the First Thursdays Johannesburg initiative.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 2 July 2015
  • Time: 5:30 for 6 PM
  • Venue: Fourthwall Books,
    No. 5 Norvic House
    91 De Korte Street
    Braamfontein, 2001
    Johannesburg | Map
  • RSVP: Facebook event

Book Details

Image courtesy of Fourthwall Books

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Same Mdluli Reviews Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases 2006 – 2014 by Zanele Muholi and Gabeba Baderoon

Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases 2006 - 2014Verdict: critical carrot

As a publication framed by contemporary art practice, it employs a range of strategies for the viewer to interact with its content. These highlight the publication as part of a selection process, one that begins to construct a particular narrative. It’s a narrative that, unlike the often confrontational nature of Muholi’s exhibitions, creates a sense of intimacy and personal space, both in its format and in the inclusion of testimonies, memoirs and poetry by her subjects.

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Photos from the 2014 Open Book Festival

The Books LIVE team are out and about during the 2014 Open Book Festival and have been snapping photos as they go. Have a look at what’s going on by browsing through the album on Facebook:


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Steve McCurry: The Iconic Photographs: Lensman’s Window into Humanity

The Times:

The beautiful retrospective book Steve McCurry: The Iconic Photographs brings together some of the photographer’s best and most memorable images taken over the past 30 years. They are reproduced life size and showcase McCurry’s talent for capturing the human condition, using his eye for colour and composition, and his ability to watch and wait.

“If you wait,” he realised early in his career, “people will forget your camera and the soul will drift up into view.”

McCurry, the man who shot the Rio images for Pirelli Calendar 2013, is not best known for taking pictures of glamorous women. His real talent and what he is most recognised for is his documentary photography. His famous portrait of a girl living in a refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan, appeared on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic. It is this image, known as “Afghan Girl” – and others like it – that allows viewers to cross boundaries and glimpse different cultures that have become this master’s trademark.

When asked why he chose reportage, the 62-year-old said last year: “To be able to be on the frontline of history and report on it, I think, is a noble profession and a worthwhile endeavour.”

His photograph “Taj and train”, Agra, India, 1983, above, shows the beauty of the Taj Mahal as the antiquated steam engine rolls towards the end of its working life.

Books brought to you in association with

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