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Campany introduces Ruff’s work as either found or his own images. Ruff concentrated initially on his own work (portraits), however, he felt that viewers were missing the point. (apertureeducation, no date). He realised that by enlarging and image detail was lost and more artistic. Ruff may have introduced photographic art or as Campany states ‘art of the pixel’ and by enlarging them beyond their original size and reproduced on a material previously unused. (David Campany, 2008). Campany’s refers to the D-Day landings being blurred images and grainy quality in the haste of processing. This was a violent, chaotic scene with a sense of urgency. Post war photographers adopted the technique to convey restrictions of style e.g. personal, technical or artistic. Ruff’s images are sourced from internet archives from scenes such as 7/7 bombings. Ruff’s images seek to shock or dramatize. Pixels are ordered unlike grain and limited by technological advancement. Campany suggests that our response to pixel art is changing through Thomas Ruff’s JPEGs.

Colberg, reiterates my thoughts that is this ‘art’ but goes no further and focuses on the publication ‘jpegs’. Ruff in a YouTube explains that he began by taking ‘portraits’ but viewers commented that they were ‘nice’ missing the point he was trying to convey. He explains he was unable to capture his own footage of the 7/7 bombings on returning home and this led to his search for images on the internet. apertureeducation (no date). Ruff described them as ‘terribly beautiful’ and were the inspiration behind ‘jpegs’. (Conscientious | Review: jpegs by Thomas Ruff, no date).


Colberg credits Ruff and Aperture for the book but shares my thoughts. ‘Well, sure, images on the web often have low resolution, and if you blow them up then they show funny patterns.’

If I manipulated an image, painting or sculpture and created a new piece it I regard it as ‘art’. Therefore, does decompressing someone else’s original image and enlarging it create a ‘unique’ piece I don’t think it does. Is this even photography but more artistic?



apertureeducation (no date) Thomas Ruff on JPEGS and Previous Key Series. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKfim0Q_yIA (Accessed: 11 June 2016).

David Campany (2008) David Campany. Available at: http://davidcampany.com/thomas-ruff-the-aesthetics-of-the-pixel/ (Accessed: 11 June 2016).

Conscientious | Review: jpegs by Thomas Ruff (no date). Available at: http://jmcolberg.com/weblog/2009/04/review_jpegs_by_thomas_ruff/ (Accessed: 11 June 2016).