Roger Ballen’s haunting black and white photographs of people and places in South Africa possess some of the same dark poetry as those of Diane Arbus’s New York City photos and Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachian portraits. They’re beautiful and disturbing - rich with stories real and imagined. The empathetic eye of the photographer keeps the shocking nature of many of the photos from being exploitation. Within the squalor and twisted flesh, souls are revealed like a punch in the face.
Ballen’s photographs have inspired and influenced the imagery that appears in the videos of Die Antwoord. The look of the video for “I Fink U Freeky” is particularly informed by Ballen’s art and in this short film the photographer addresses the connection between his work and that of Die Antwoord’s.