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Nick Ballon’s (b.1976) journalistic sensibility is at the heart of his photographic practise. He has a way of discovering those little ticks or details about a place, person or situation that others miss. Everything centres around his limitless curiosity. With each project he invests hours into research and development. Studying and hunting for nuances and irreverent details that allow him to forge a new route into a particular subject.
Nick’s best work occupies a state of limbo. Layers of contradictions equally intrigue and seduce the viewer and things are often not what they seem on the surface. He is interested in the moments that sit halfway between real and constructed. His compositions are graphic but retain warmth, while an uplifting colour palette illuminates an often mysterious or dark subject matter.
Nick is a master observationalist, seeking out the moment of commitment when the searching, waiting and patience all come together. The work is quiet, yet attentive. Applying a sophisticated and sensitive approach to storytelling which unifies a diverse range of subjects. Ballon’s practise defies categorisation. His portfolio is a collision of subjects from the worlds of politics, art, science, history, sport and popular culture.
For the last decade Nick’s personal work has focused exclusively on his Anglo-Bolivian heritage, exploring socio-historical ideas of identity and place, with a particular focus on the concept of ‘foreignness’ and belonging. This work began at an auspicious time for both parties. Having grown up in the U.K, Nick began to unravel his heritage through annual trips to the country, discovering and observing through the people and communities he encountered. At the same time, Bolivia was at a point of flux. The impact of globalisation, the growing middle class and the sudden accessibility of technology resulted in a rapid information evolution. All of a sudden people could look outwards. While people embraced their indigenous culture, they began to be massively influenced by the west. It was a dynamic period of change and a poignant time of discovery for the photographer.
The work has started to build a collective narrative of a country often forgotten. Projects have included Ezekiel 36:36, a curious exploration of Bolivia’s national airline, the spectacle of open-air wrestling in ‘Viva Las Luchadoras!’ and most recently ‘The Bitter Sea’, which looks at land-locked Bolivia, and its painful longing to reclaim back it’s sea lost in a war to Chile over 129 years ago.
By Gem Fletcher
New York Times
Sunday Times Magazine
Adam & Eve
NCM/Foyle Foundation Commissions - The Bitter Sea
M&CSaatchi, College des Bernardins, Paris - Together We Go Further
Guernsey Photography Festival - Faith Family Community
CAF, La Paz, Bolivia - Long Night of Museums
Victor Hunt Gallery, Brussels, Belgium - Pierre and The Almond Tree
Four Corners Gallery - A Year In Development
Fuse Art Space, Bradford - Portrait Salon (group show)
Strand Gallery - Terry O’Neill (group show)
Phoenix Gallery - Brighton Photo Fringe (group show)
KK Outlet (solo show) - Ezekiel 36:36
CR Photography Annual - Best In Book & Personal
CR Photography Annual - Editorial
CR Photography Annual - Two projects featured
Prix Pictet nomination 'Disorder' (The Cold Road)
CR Photography Annual - Best In Book (Ezekiel 36:36)
JGS Photography Contest - Runner up (The Bitter Sea)
Arles Photo Festival, book show - Ezekiel 36:36
PDN Photo Annual Finalist - Virtue of Wrestling
Lens Culture Awards Finalist
Terry O'Neill Awards Finalist - Ezekiel 36:36
TIME - best photobooks of 2013 - Ezekiel 36:36
Portrait Salon - Ezekiel 36:36 & Virtue of Wrestling