David Ballam (1978) is a contemporary South African photographer based in Johannesburg.
He graduated from Rhodes University with an honours degree in Fine Art Photography (BAFA). His early apprenticeship to both national and international photographers inspired a passion for travel and the African continent.
In 2013 David focused his attention solely on his personal infatuation with the African landscape and the people that inhabit it. Intrigued by different cultures and customs he is enthralled by the unexpected. “One of the ironic beauties of travel in Africa is that one has to be prepared for any and all possibilities yet fortunately there are no certainties”.
Africa is generally harsh and unforgiving. It is rough, loud, complex and is often a sensory overload, but within all this there are moments of true beauty and calmness.
Through a process of visual editing whilst photographing David attempts to capture the essence of a subject or environment. His goal is to share with the viewer a still moment, a single beat in a cacophony of drums.
David is predominantly a solo traveller that spends many hours with the chiefs and elders of the communities that he visits to ensure that he is welcome and has permission and consent before photographing. Being respectful of the fact that he is the visitor, David works within the respective rules, beliefs and customs of the people he visits and the landscape he traverses.
“In this modern ‘connected’ western society I find it a humbling honour to travel to disconnected destinations and to share time and photograph subjects that are still intricately connected to their customs, beliefs, traditions and past.”