Moving Snap! Shots

Gallery owners Patrick and Holly Kahn offer powerful exhibits showcasing photographer Roger Ballen, as well as Pulse tribute images.

Snap! Orlando is offering a powerful double feature for the next few weeks: two photographic exhibits, each one gripping in its own way.

The dual exhibits represent yet another step in the evolution of Patrick and Holly Kahn’s visual-arts initiative, devoted to bringing the works of nationally and internationally recognized photographers to Orlando, and now operating out of two galleries. One of them, Snap! Space, is in a converted, 1940s-era movie theater on Colonial Drive in the heart of the Mills 50 district. The other, Snap! Downtown, is on the ground floor of the 420 East apartments high-rise on Church Street.

At the Mills 50 gallery, a retrospective of the works of Roger Ballen, an American-born, South African-based photographer known for his psychologically probing portraiture and absurdist tableaus, will be on display through Dec. 17. The exhibit is an offshoot of a more extensive retrospective of Ballen’s work that will be at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach through Dec. 10.

Ballen, 66, has one of contemporary photography’s most unusual resumes. He studied psychology at Berkley, earned a PhD in geology at the Colorado School of Mines and moved to South Africa to work as a mining entrepreneur before becoming a serious photographer. Much of his work is with impoverished residents of rural South Africa, whom he enrolls to stage arresting, darkly dreamlike processions of found objects and animals against eerie, hardscrabble backgrounds. 

“These pictures are beyond the circumstances in which I take them,” he said on a hurricane-abbreviated visit to Snap! Space last weekend. “They are psychological in nature. They stay with you. They were taken in Johannesburg, but they are a product of Roger Ballen’s mind.”

The second exhibit, at Snap! Downtown through Oct. 28, is a collection of large, framed photographs produced by photojournalists who were assigned to capture the outpouring of grief both locally and across the world following the June 12 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. The exhibit, titled Unison, was planned to dovetail with Come Out With Pride Week, which was postponed because of Hurricane Matthew. The exhibit, funded by Robert Palmer, an Orlando mortgage company executive, and his wife, Jill, includes elegant, heart-rending images of mourners, demonstrators, and crowds of everyday citizens at candlelit ceremonies. The images were donated by news organizations, including the Orlando Sentinel, The New York Times and the Associated Press.

For the Ballen exhibit, gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; for Unison, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit for more information. 

To see Orlando magazine's photos of the opening night reception for the Pulse exhibit, click here.


Categories: Arts Beat