roger ballen – die antwoord

A VIDEO BY ROGER BALLEN                                                   I FINK U FREEKY by DIE ANTWOORD

Many of you may remember Roger Ballen here from his Boarding House essay, also published in Burn 01.  Roger was also kind enough to interact with this audience. This is a very interesting example of a conceptual still photographer making a video. This video took 5 days of shooting, but was “years in conceptualizing”, says Roger.

“We had really clear concepts of what we wanted to do in our heads. We started with my photographs for ideas, and then mimicked them in the sets.” says Roger.

I have watched this a dozen times now, and see some new piece each time. Cannot get it out of my head.


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Roger Ballen



182 Responses to “roger ballen – die antwoord”

  • Didn’t realize author was on burn :] Great video, I like The Antwoord as well, this clip fits them perfectly. Ninja is adapting lots of GG Allin in his image.

  • WOW! perfect blend! had to go back to his essay here and will be looking through burn 01 tonight!
    awesome stuff!

  • I think you’re FREAKY
    I like you A LOT!

    You are one of the Greatest of all times…
    And thank you Burn from movin on from newspaper/magazine photography
    to some SERIOUS ART SEARCHING/ thinking / creating..
    Roger BALLEN in Burn!
    Now that’s a GREAT DAY…
    Roger BALLEN raises the bar once more , higher….
    Best work I’ve seen after the “Rio book editing” experience in NY!
    DAH and Roger BALLEN =

  • Way, way past my bedtime.

  • There is no question that this is very well done, and that it is fascinating.

    Despite that, I really dislike this, rather, I dislike what it represents. Pop culture really is looking more and more like a Mad Max movie: vulgar, sleazy, decayed, ugly.
    Hey, but what do I know. I’m just an old geezer from the peace, love, and tie-dyed t-shirt era.

  •  hahahah I laughed when they beat the daylights outta Dre’s headphones!
    this band has a great , unique sense of humor , mocking but not disrespecting the west coast RAP gangsta scene..they took it one step higher..for many folks that will think he is dissing Dr.Dre think twice..
    its unique sense of humor , not disrespect
    (hint for those not following this music genre)
    have a good day y’all

  • Ballen is definitely adding to the overall body of photographic (and film) work about ‘Africa’…something other than war, famine, disease, large animals and exotic tribes is a good thing in my book…

  • Doug, amen..
    Tired of bullets, syringes and minefields too..
    BALLEN is as FRESH as it gets..
    He is up in the class there with:
    dream team of film/stills/high art

  • No idea what I just saw… but, MAN it was awesome.

  • Follows that great tradition of music videos some of the most creative and innovative stuff produced and still being produced…………(creating great stories and imagery in a short time frame)………they took surrealism by the balls and never let go.

  • Imants , u said it all.. Perfect… nothing to add!

  • I say – send it to Rick Santorum!

    Amazing talent.

  • one more amazing video from DIE ANTWOORD below:

  • Very cool stuff. I love the whole concept and I can’t help liking the music. I’m going to have to show this to the two twenty year olds I work with, they surely won’t like the video but the music will go down very well.
    Those headphones! Tried on Dre’s headphone the other day and they fit like a glove. 150€ is the cheapest I ever seen for that make!

  • Wow. This is amazing. They’re playing here in Seattle Monday night…. have to think bout that….

  • Charles , They’re playing in Seattle ?
    Damn lucky u… I’m thinking of it too…
    Hmmm.. Gotta check if their coming down
    south … Checking their tour dates now…

  • A great idea, although I get the feeling Ballen and Co. are playing it safe here. The background is reminiscent of his work circa 2005-6. If the video was made then, great, but Ballen has grown a little bit since, so if this was made recently, I wonder why the sets didn’t keep pace with his work.

    Alfred Hitchcock made a brilliant move in getting Salvador Dali involved with “Spellbound”. Not only was there an integration of two art-forms, we actually dove into Dali’s world by diving into his painting-as-set. With this video, I don’t get the dialectical vibe so evident 67 years ago:

  • Been a fan of Die Antwoord for about a year, and I’ve got to say I love this video – it’s slightly disturbing, but in a good way. Definitely more interesting than my first exposure to them (but still love this song):
    “Enter the Ninja”

  • I think you’re FREAKY
    and you’re trying too HARD

    Must be good, though.

  • Wendy
    Just wanted to clarify that I was referring to R Ballen and not you in my previous post
    I just ‘borrowed’ your formatting

  • Once we move beyond the still images a greater world of communication envelops us………..or is it that too many still photographers are conservative thinkers and see their craft as a all encompassing means to an end?

    The inspiring aspect music video creators they are willing to embrace a wider scope of content and make it happen,……….

  • Burn just got a whole heck of lot more exciting. That is mind bending work right there. Thanks to all concerned.

  • IMANTS..

    your point is well taken…and yet i would never assume that still photographers are conservative thinkers…besides, Roger Ballen is a still photographer…a great one..and i will bet you for sure would not forsake his primary work…what i see here is a still photographer who took his craft over to another…were Ballen not a great still photographer, i doubt this video would be the same…

    without a doubt it is BECAUSE he is a still photographer this video is great…

  • I didn’t make an absolute blanket statement just stated that too many are are stuck within the confides of their craft in a world that feeds itself on multi media

  • It is almost as if there is a weird protectionism going on like a nationality thing I am Australian, I am Italian etc defend at all costs a bunker mentality. Photojournalist seem to have a real siege mentality, as their newsworthiness is diminished. Sure fair enough but time to move on with the demands of society……….

  • I don’t buy into the idea that moving images are somehow “beyond” still images, or for that matter that moving images with audio are “beyond” any earlier forms as well. I could see an argument that some ideas which are represented in the various art forms are beyond older ideas, better said “other” ideas, but the form itself? No.

    In general, I think that too often the art in a work like this is subsumed in the service of the music video, but this particular piece seems to work as a valid collaboration. Kind of like Tim Pope and the Cure or the videos David Bowie made with Sam Bayer.

  • ……….. many will disagree with me but so be it I don’t expect them


    please…insulting as a technique for making a point gets a bit wearying Imants….it is your only technique unfortunately….if some were to attack you the same way you attack others, you would be looking a bit foolish..

    most of us agree with the power of this video…that is why i featured on the front page of Burn…and i totally agree with your first two comments….


    “bunker mentality”? your own? and we were not even discussing “photojournalism” at all….we were discussing the power of stills…not in any way to take away the power of the collaboration of graphics, theater, and music collaborations….

    a bunch of poor still pictures do not a strong video make…you just cannot believe ever in the still image…a harsh critique on some videos would say that collaboration with other art forms does not mean you should use the other mediums as some sort of crutch…

    i guess my point is only that each part of the video is an art form unto itself… to throw out the baby with the bathwater is not something i think Ballen would agree with…

    bad videos and bad stills are just bad…liberation from a “bunker mentality” does not necessarily art make..from one bunker to another? a bunker is a bunker and sometimes yours seems the deepest of all…

    in any case, we both agree on the power of this Ballen piece…but can’t we celebrate this without taking some sort of twisted cynical cheap shot at other forms?

    i am looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks….and i do thank you for putting together the young photographer’s show for HeadOn…for this we are walking on the same turf…

    cheers, david

  • “…or is it that too many still photographers are conservative thinkers and see their craft as a all encompassing means to an end?”

    Where does this come from? Seems an utter non sequitur. It’s a cool video/piece of art. Most agree. What’s your problem?


    exactly….that assumption is the most conservative thought of all…choke choke….

  • John……..
    that’s gnarly…:) Joy Division always inspire…great video

  • Seen this video only once, have it stuck in my head, some images and sequences firmly planted there, can’t absolutely remember the music.. only visuals.. such a great piece of work..

  • John Gladdy,

    That was great! thank you for posting that video. I only knew of his “Hyena Men” project. This was a pleasant surprise.

  • Where are Beavis and Butt-Head when you need them?

  • “No idea what I just saw… but, MAN it was awesome.” -michael kircher

    My thoughts exactly. This has been disturbing the back reaches of my brain since I first saw it–really stuck in there.

  • Not insulting photography as a technique at all just pointing out the limitations in this day and age. By presenting work in a video form Ballen is now reaching a far greater and more diverse audience than he would with his still work.


    ok man, i gotta buy you a beer…..after sky;ing with you, publishing your work here on Burn, helping you with access to HeadOn and you making it happen, and often getting frustrated with your too cryptic text, at the end of the proverbial day i know damn well we are going to enjoy each other’s company….not a doubt…and i totally agree with your last statement.

    good on you…

  • Well certainly, but we can assume that video can open the door to still images to a greater audience. I think that stills and video compliment each other in an amazing way. This video is very strong and a great introduction to the work of Roger Ballen. I wouldn’t be surprise if watching this video opens the door to still photography to some people.

    P.S. hope I don’t offend people by saying this but Roger Ballen just f***** my mind with this one. Amazing work!

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