In this clip, Thomas Ruff goes through several key bodies of work following his professor Bernd Becher’s advice to always reflect on the photographic medium. Ruff speaks about his Portraits series he started at the Düsseldorf Academy and explains how large scale has emancipated photography on the contemporary art scene in the 1980's. Ruff also touches on the matter of objectivity versus subjectivity as well as on the notion of authorship with his Stars series. He finally speaks about the spirit of the Jpegs series, focusing on the structure of images he finds on Internet and their distribution. By enlarging them, Ruff also plays with the perception of these images when the pixel patterns becomes sublime geometric displays of color.

The full version of this talk is available on vimeo and on our multimedia section, divided in four different clips.

Aperture and the photography department in the School of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design presented this conversation between artist Thomas Ruff and writer, former picture editor, Philip Gefter, on February 12, 2010 at Aperture Gallery.

Thomas Ruff is among the most important international photographers to emerge in the last fifteen years, and one of the most enigmatic and prolific of Bernd and Hilla Becher’s former students, a group that includes Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Candida Höfer, and Axel Hutte.

In 2009, Aperture released the first monograph dedicated exclusively to the publication of Ruff’s remarkable series: JPEGS. In 2007, Ruff completed his monumental Jpegs series in which he explores the distribution and reception of images in the digital age. Starting with images he culls primarily from the Web, many of Ruff’s works in the series focus on idyllic, seemingly untouched landscapes, and conversely, scenes of war, and nature disturbed by human manipulation.

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