American photographer Roger Ballen has lived and worked in South Africa for most of his life, creating complex, psychologically disturbing photographs. His artwork is often populated with marginalized outcasts of society who are surrealist "actors" performing in nightmarish constructed environments that are filled with found objects, graffiti, drawing, sculpture, and living and dead animals.

This is photography as theater of the absurd — gruesome, gut-wrenching, bizarre situations dragged up from the author's id and surfaced in reality as  photographs. 

LensCulture is pleased to present 20 preview images from the brand new book (March 2014), as well as a short video that documents the making of some of these images.

Not everyone will like these images, but they are guaranteed to sink into your subconscious and haunt you — or inspire you. They represent a truly unique artistic vision. 

Highly recommended.

— Jim Casper


Editor's Note: This weird, disturbing, controversial and sometimes violent video, shows photographer Roger Ballen on the site of his latest multi-year art project project in the slums of South Africa. The film was directed by Ben Jay Crossman but written by Roger Ballen. A strong collaborative effort which shows this work in a different medium.

****Viewer discretion advised.****



Asylum of the Birds
by Roger Ballen
Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Hardcover: 144 pages