Thomas Ruff is a contemporary German photographer who is famed for his critical and conceptual approach to photography. Since the start of his career in the 1970s he has worked exclusively in series. His subjects varying from domestic interiors to portraits to even pornography, all aimed at spurring the imagination. Themes addressed in Ruff’s work vary from cosmology to suburbia, and utopianism to catastrophe. His practice investigates the status of the image in contemporary culture, and in so doing, blurs the line between reality and fiction. He uses technological advancements to realise new opportunities in the field of photography and questions the artistic quality and value of photography, and the role of authenticity and appropriation. Thomas Ruff’s most well-known series is ‘Portraits,’ which consists of 60 passport like frontal photographs of people, which are produced on a monumental scale. The emotionless expression of the sitters creates a confrontational and unsettling experience which has become a hallmark of Ruff’s work.
German, b. 1958, Zell am Harmersbach, Germany. Based in Dusseldorf.