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.


Related Link

Roger Ballen



182 Responses to “roger ballen – die antwoord”

  • Absolutely great link Gladdy!!!
    Watched it twice and forwarded to many friends in Greece …
    They need to redirect their anger into new ideas to help the community..
    The young generation that needs a communa so to speak


    Many thanks for posting that video about the Crass, a bit of British social history about which I knew nothing (was living in a language and information fog in the Far East through most of that era).

    There’s a lot in their analysis and their prescriptions that a younger me can relate to… ironically though, not their music!

    But I think many of the messages of the film are worthwhile sharing with a wide audience. Thanks.

  • Shot the band last night here in Seattle, sold out show. They were good, very high energy. If I was 16 and pressed up against the barricade I would probably say it was a great show, though, thankfully, I’m no longer 16 (or think like one). Anyway, the video is much better than the band in my estimation (and this is their best song). I still can’t figure out if it’s all a joke (take the money and run) or if they truly take themselves seriously. I prefer the former… kinda sad (unless you are 16) if it’s truly the latter…

    Anyway, I’ll link up to a few pics once I get them ready….

  • John G
    Finally made it all the way through the Crass video. “do they owe us a living?..of course they fucking do”.
    “where are all the angry young men?” (and women I presume)

    Fascinating stuff. The whole Dial House scene leaves me wondering where Rimbaud and Vaucher get their money from. Both Rimbaud and “Steve Ignorant” clearly deplore actual work. Even the word “livlihood” makes Rimbaud sneer.

    I really don’t buy their message, or their music.

  • Charles..
    cant wait…!!!
    thanks for posting and following up!

  • Here’s the link to Die Antwoord pics:

    Note it’s a much larger edit than I would normally do of one show but it’s also for running by the band.

  • Oh, and it’s the last shot that goes in the next book.

  • sweeeeeeeeeeetttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Charles thats hot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • wow, some great stuff there Charles, I love #28. Looks like you had great access.

    My 22yr old stepson didn’t like your review of the show however, wishes he had been there. They will play Vancouver soon.


    Terrific concert photos… far more impressive to me than either Roger Ballen or Die Antwoord’s music.

  • Sidney..

    Two so completely different things.. how to compare one to the other.. unless I stop Ballen’s video and click my way through like it was a slideshow with stills.. and even then, cannot compare.. but am most impressed with Ballen’s stills.. that is not to say Charles has not great concert pictures in there.. it’s just different to me..

  • damn charles!!!!
    you are SOOOOO good!!
    Great stuff…
    thanks for sharing…


    great access, great work!!


    not comparable, i am sure Charles would agree

  • Thanks All. Yes, access. I won’t shoot a show any more unless I get to shoot the whole thing (for most of the photographers it’s usually the first three songs, at this show too). You do have to know how to behave when you are the only photog down in front. Try and be invisible yet right where the action is as well.

    And,yes, the video, and live stills two entirely different things. No way could I ever do what Ballen does, and I kinda doubt he’d come away from a live show with the same goods as me. And of course without the music there’d be neither.



  • Charles, nice work man!

    Gordon, please don’t confuse “actual work” with work for money… there are plenty of people who do amazing amounts of work without making a living out of it… also, if you re-watch the video you’ll see that at some point they were presented with the opportunity to monetize their work, but for their own reasons refused to do so…

  • Thodoris
    Not confused at all, I do lots of both kinds of work.

    I suspect that they felt that they had to refused the money because it would have been hypocritical given their screaming anti-establishment anarchy stance. And also because Rimbaud clearly has independent means, and Steve was young, and idealistic. they were probably foolish to refuse the money, given that it would have either financed projects that they cared about, or made them wealthy like many of the sixties icons who railed against the establishment (Dylan, Guthrie, Baez etc.) Steve complains now about not getting any money from pirate t-shirt sales.

    Where have all the angry young men gone asks Rimbaud. They grew up and left him behind in his quasi-utopian Dial House Never Never Land. If you want to see what real anarchy looks like, try living somewhere like Somalia.

    Sorry to sound so cynical.

  • Thodoris

    I love your idea for using your smartphone’s flashlight app as supplemental lighting in low light!

  • Hey Gordon, I don’t disagree with any of the points you make in the first paragraph… however, I actually admire Rimbaud trying to practice his ideology…

    To be clear, even though I find the message of their music appealing I’ve never been a big fun of punk music… so, I’m not defending Crass in particular… my reaction above was to your mention of “actual work”… it kind of sounded like “the man’s” point of view and not that of someone with an open mind (and a hippie background) to alternative lifestyles…

    And yeah, the smartphone’s flashlight was a duh moment… thanks for looking :)

  • I hate to toot my own horn too loudly without reviewing and joining in the larger discussion, but right now I am traveling on my wife’s reservation, visiting family, at the same time as I am working to finish up my whale rescue series. I just made a post about how I got onto the Soviet icebreakers in defiance of the authority of the man President Reagan had give all authority to.

    I think you might enjoy reading how that happened. I have three posts left to make in this series. For those not following, I invite to come along. In these remaining posts, you will see things you have never saw before and will not see even the hint of in the movie – Big Miracle – which, none-the-less, is a fun movie to watch but not to take seriously.

    Today’s post:

    David – we could try that Skype sometime in the next couple of days. Time is very hard for me right now, but it won’t get any easier for the next month and I don’t want to miss that Skype conversation with you.

  • The video is very slick, a lot of work has obviously gone into it.
    I wouldn’t want to meet any of them down a dark alley.
    Looks like a vision of hell.
    Not so scary with no sound.

    Charles, great photos!


  • Roger Ballen, his work and this video is featured in the latest issue of Britsh Journal of Photography.
    Since the access to the magazine from Germany is very difficult, I got the iPad version of the magazine.
    A picture out of the video even made it to the title page.

  • When the photographer Roger Ballen’s video for “I Fink U Freeky,” by Die Antwoord, came out earlier this month, I watched it over and over again, amazed by how it brought his still images to life while also conveying the personality of the band. It got me thinking about other video collaborations between photographers and musicians, some of them surprising, others made by photographers who are prolific in the form. Here’s a selection of ten, all made by directors with large bodies of photographic work, along with comments from most of the artists.

    Read more

  • “Ballen told me that he’s known the band members Ninja and Yo-Landi for years, and that he’s long wanted to make a video for them. “Unfortunately, they were living in Cape Town and I in Johannesburg, and as a result the logistics never seemed to have worked out,” he said. On New Year’s Eve, though, he took a photograph of Die Antwoord for the New York Times Magazine, and they decided to finally make it happen. Two weeks later, the video for “I Fink U Freeky” was in the can. “We started with my photographs for ideas and then mimicked them in the sets,” Ballen told me. “Most of the sets started with almost a ‘Roger Ballen still life’ and then expanded on the particular theme cinematically. In many aspects, a great work of cinema contains an abundance of powerful still images.”

    Read more

  • Panos; Die Antwoord played here in NZ about 2-weeks ago….

  • Don’t know it this has been posted.. I Fink U Freeky: Behind the Scenes:

  • Just in case anybody is interested, Roger Ballen’s book will be out soonest:

Leave a Reply

You must login to post a comment.