Thomas Ruff

“My images are not images of reality, but show a kind of second reality, the image of the image.”

Thomas Ruff (b. Zell am Harmersbach, West Germany, 1958) is a contemporary German photographer known for his series that emphasize the medium and its ability to manipulate images through a variety of techniques and processes. He studied under Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf as part of a loose group of conceptual photographers. Ruff first came to acclaim for his Portraits series in which he photographed 60 individuals between the ages of 25 and 35 in an identical fashion: half-length, as in a passport, with even lighting, a flash, and through use of a 9 x 12 cm negative. Ruff experimented with large-formats in 1986 and ultimately blew the images up to the enlarged scale of seven by five feet, resulting in a startling, discomfiting effect. His Nudes series features images taken from Internet pornography, which he then blurred to such a degree that hardly anything is recognizable. His Zycles and Cassini have a scientific basis; the former consists of large inkjet prints on canvas based on three-dimensional renderings of mathematical curves, while the latter is based on images of Saturn taken by NASA which he injects with saturated color. Most recently, his press++ series consists of images published in American newspapers and magazines. Ruff currently lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.