German photographic artist Thomas Ruff concentrates on images of the ordinary, usually from a directly frontal position. His analytical practice eschews narrative possibilities but uses scale and focus to create tension and drama between the image and the viewer.
Talking about his practice Ruff has said, “Every photo makes a claim. In order to prove that the visual claim is right I have to set up a whole series of similar shots […] it is not enough to make a portrait of just one person if you want to get an idea of the human being. In order to have as comprehensive a picture as possible, you have to make portraits of as many people as possible.” For his portrait photographs Ruff asked friends to pose in similar contexts with a neutral expression on their faces. The resulting images, especially when enlarged to 210 x 165 cm format, repel the viewer while simultaneously providing a detailed record of that individual face. For Ruff, these photographs proved his theory that photography can only depict the surface of things.
*Thomas Ruff, in ‘Photography as Proving Ground’, by Valeria Lieberman, Thomas Ruff Exhibition Catalogue, Essor Gallery, London 2001.
|Dimensions||210 x 165 cm|
|Credit Line||IMMA Collection: Purchase, 2002|
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