I am a huge fan of Roger Ballen’s work, as soon as I was given this assignment ideas started popping into my head! I wanted to copy and recreate the feel and aesthetic of his images in my work. To help me understand his technique, I had a look at some of the lighting setups he uses and I was surprised by how simple they are.
I downloaded some of my favourite images for inspiration and started planning my shoot. I particularly loved the image of a young man wearing a mask standing in a corner of a room covered in dirt. I decided to do something similar but add my own twist to it.
The brief we were given states that our image should illicit a strong emotional response from the viewer. In addition, we should create relationships between different elements found in the photograph.
In the image that I created I have illustrated a young man in a fox mask sitting under a wooden structure that he or someone else has created. It is symbolic of a shack or a home. His wooden structure is built on a sand bank that represents the foundation of an unstable home. There is a passage in the bible that says, “Don’t build your house on a foundation of sand”
The young man is in a dark room. The walls and floor are very dirty. He himself is covered in dirt. He has nothing on but an old pair of shorts.
The image evokes the feeling of an animals’ underground den. There is a story behind this man. One has the feeling of something dark lurking under the surface. Is this the man’s home? Does he live here? What is his story? Looking at this image one cannot help but ask these questions. This image I believe “evokes ones senses”.