You Are a Photographer, But Are You Also an Artist?

You may be a photographer, but are you an artist? That’s the question COOPH and world-renowned artist Roger Ballen urge you to ask yourself in this inspiring, challenging, and thought-provoking video. Ballen’s unique style has been called everything from disturbing, chilling, terrifying, even psychotic to beautiful, moving, brilliant, and inspiring. Viewers may have differing opinions of his work, but one thing is always clear: it makes people think and feel something. As an artist, Ballen uses photography as a medium to express his artistic vision. Here are seven thoughts that he hopes will inspire you to do the same:

1. The Purpose of Art

A good photograph will embed itself deep inside your psyche and be remembered.

“Why do some works stick? Why are some fleeting? If you find yourself asking these questions, then you may be an artist.”

2. Redefine Your World

How do you define ugly? Ballen’s own work has been described as such, but at the same time, it’s also been described as beautiful.

“If you redefine your understanding of words, then you may be an artist.”

artistic photography

3. Visual Relationships

Sometimes the most important elements of a photograph go unnoticed.

“When you learn to see strong, complex visual relationships beyond words, then you may be an artist.”

4. A Vision is Unique

Each of Ballen’s photographs is composed of thousands of pieces.

“When you learn every moment is crucial, and that no picture can be repeated, then you may be an artist.”

composing art photo

5. Search Within

An artist will use the camera as a means of creating a new reality every time they push the shutter button.

“You need to travel deep inside yourself to create a good picture.”

6. Break Through Your Mind

A picture isn’t always what it seems.

“If you can let go and break through your mind, then you may be an artist.”

break through your mind photo

7. Face Your Fears

“If you confront your fears, this will certainly assist your artistic endeavors.”

Roger Ballen’s work spans over 40 years, and he has become one of the most influential and important photographic artists today. His images challenge the viewer to go deeper into their own minds and, hopefully, make people think differently.

“Our aim was to open a dialogue about art and photography—hopefully these thoughts will expand people’s aesthetic understanding  of photography.”

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