Roger Ballen
[Photographer, b. 1950, New York, lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.]

 It has to start with myself. I just can’t go out and say, I’m going to help humanity and take greater pictures. That usually doesn’t work. 
 The thing that influences me the most is my own pictures. 
 In the end, I believe that the most important influence on my aesthetic has been the photographs I have taken. 
 I never think about a photo before I start it. I try to let my mind relax, and then when I get there I do it. 
 You need to travel deep inside yourself to create a good picture. 
 Every time you push the button of the camera you create a new reality. 
 I don’t have any particular ideas about what I want to do…. I just relax and keep a focused mind and make the photographs. 
 Because photography is such an easy medium to master technically, especially with today’s cameras, people don’t realize that it’s not just being able to pick up a camera. When I lift that camera up to take a picture, I’ve gone through thousands of steps to get to that point. That’s what you’re really seeing; it’s a complex view of the world, through my imagination, through my experiences. 
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