Thomas Ruff studied photography from 1977 to 1985 with Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf Art Academy). Ruff names Walker Evans, Eugene Atget, Karl Bloßfeld, Stephen Shore and William Eggleston as his main influences. From 2000 to 2005 Ruff taught Photography at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (the previous “Becher-Class”).
During his studies in Düsseldorf, Ruff developed his method of conceptual serial photography. His initial main topic was the interior of German living quarters, with typical features of the 1950s to 1970s (room portraits and design details). This was followed by similar views of buildings and portraits of friends and acquaintances. These are typically shown with emotionless expressions, in very large, passport-style portraits of great detail and high resolution. In a discussion with Philip Pocock (Journal for Contemporary Art, 1993), Ruff mentions a connection between these portraits and the police observation methods in Germany in the 1970s during the German Autumn.
Ruff gave up shooting his own images in a recent series, Nudes, using porn-stills pulled from the Internet. Ruff continues to address photography in the age of the Internet in his latest work, jpeg, an ongoing series of massively enlarged versions of downloaded compressed files, a process that maxes out the resolution to near abstraction. Link Show Link