Roger Ballen

This photograph was taken in a Park in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1968. I had recently obtained a Nikon FTN from my parents as a high school graduation present. My mother worked at Magnum and started one of the first photography galleries in the United States. In turn, I implicitly understood that a camera could be a tool to express one’s “inner being.”

At this time I was very interested in photographing older men and took this image of the two men fishing in the pond. I often have considered it to be my first image that had an aspect of myself in it.

That same day that I shot this image, I visited a van Gogh exhibition at a museum nearby. The show was an incredible revelation to me as it revealed to me that art could be a means to come into contact with deeper realities.

Roger was featured in Romka 7 in 2012.