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Bedroom of Railway Worker, De Aar
Roger Ballen
Artwork 1984
Roger Ballen’s monochrome photograph ‘Bedroom of Railway Worker, De Aar’ depicts a web of electrical cables pinned to a bedroom wall.
Artwork: Roger Ballen, Bedroom of Railway Worker, De Aar (1984). Silver gelatin print. 40 x 40 cm. Courtesy of the Scheryn Collection.
Artist Roger Ballen Title Bedroom of Railway Worker, De Aar Date 1984 Materials Silver gelatin print Dimensions 40 x 40 cm Credit Courtesy of the Scheryn Collection

"Dorps was probably the most important project in my career because I started using a flash," Roger Ballen said in conversation with Sean O'Toole. "I went inside and never really took pictures outside again. I went inside the psyche rather than staying on the street… I found the place of the mind, found something that struck a real chord in those interior spaces."

Bedroom of Railway Worker, De Aar is one such image, pictured in the four-year period from 1982 to 1986, during which Ballen was working as a geologist in South Africa, travelling to far-flung rural towns or ‘dorps’. Among his earliest still-lifes, this photograph offers a prelude to the distinctly graphic and unsettling style for which he is now known.

b.1950, New York City; works in Johannesburg.