"It is not the object described that matters, but the light that falls on it, like that from a lamp in a distant room."
"It is a profoundly erroneous truism repeated by all copybooks and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case Civilisation advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them Operations of thought are like cavalry charges in a battle — they are strictly limited in number they require fresh horses, and must only be made at decisive moments."
AN Whitehead, mathematician and philosopher
For the first time in the half century Roger Ballen has been making photographs, he’s allowing his audience an intimate walk through his world with him. The new documentary short “Asylum of the Birds,” directed by Ben Crossman, depicts the people and places that are the subject matter of his newly released book, Asylum of the Birds
, published by Thames & Hudson. It follows Roger into a bizarre compound outside of Johannesburg, South Africa, where refugees and escaped mental patients live together with birds and rats. This film contains images that will be hard for you to forget.
Click here to watch the film, see more photos, and read our new interview with Roger Ballen
"As far as I can recall, none of the adults in my life ever once remembered to say, ‘Some people have thick skin and you don’t. Your heart is really open and that is going to cause you pain, but that is an appropriate response to this world. The cost is high, but the blessing of being compassionate is beyond your wildest dreams. However, you’re not going to feel that a lot in seventh grade. Just hang on.’"
"Start with a young woman who’s already formed her identity. Dump her in a situation that operates on different social scripts than she’s accustomed to, full of people talking about a subject she doesn’t yet understand. Then tell her the community is hostile toward women and therefore doesn’t have enough of them, all while showing her off like a prize poodle so you can feel good about recruiting a female. This is a recipe for failure."