Thomas Ruff


Thomas Ruff is a contemporary German photographer and prominent member of the Düsseldorf School alongside artists like Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, and Candida Höfer. Ruff studied under Bernd and Hilla Becher and their treatment of photography as an open archive became an underlying structure for him.


Ruff’s work incorporates images of domestic interiors, austere portraits, blurred pornography, photograms, and found JPEGs which intend to spur the imagination rather than capture reality. He has said that photography has come to be used “in a prejudicial way, losing its innocence and consequently its ability to communicate.” 


Authenticity and appropriation are of recurring interest to Ruff. He has explored these ideas in his ‘Nudes’, a photographic collection of distorted and enlarged thumbnails of pornographic photographs taken from the internet. He has also produced series based on 3-D mathematical renderings, archival images of war and the night sky, and the architecture of Mies van der Rohe.