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The American Roger Ballen was one of the most important photographers of the late 20th Century, as underlined by his recent shows at some of the most influential art institutes in the US and Europe, and now Rio's MAM with a look back at his career. Born in New York in 1950, the retrospective, hung in a bizarre cardboard maze on the ground floor, dates from 1968 to the present day, offering an insightful arc of the changing styles, subjects and approaches to his artform throughout the decades.
Two things that haven't changed, however, are the trusty Rolleiflex camera Ballen has used for the last thirty years, and the abject lack of colour in his entirely black and white images. Having moved to Johannesburg in the early '80s, the series of disturbing and arresting compositions taken in the interior of South Africa during apartheid is perhaps still his best-known, published in book form in 1994, the same year that Nelson Mandela was elected President. That collection, which resulted in death threats and imprisonment along the way, also brought Ballen international recognition for a journey that he sees as one of trying to define himself, albeit by looking at those around him.