Thomas Ruff is one of the most renowned living photographers. He currently lives in Düsseldorf's where he shares a studio with other important German photographers such as Laurenz Berges, Andreas Gursky and Axel Hütte.
Ruff was born in 1958 in Zell am Harmersbach, Germany and from 1977 to 1985, he attended Staatliche Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf. There he was taught by Bernd and Hilla Becher, who taught him about the conceptual aesthetics, how to break the standards and to use different techniques to reinforce the theme of his works.
Ruff has always been a fan of the large format, concerned about the finest details and the main concept of his work. He works in series which can be as varied as portraits, night visions, astral constellations, porn nudes, re-photographed internet commercials o industrial elements.
His Portrait series set him under the spotlight of the international photography scene. These where small and in black and white at the beginning but ended up being large scale of Passport like colour portraits of women and men on plain neutral backgrounds showing no sign of emotion thanks to a powerful flash.
Thomas Ruff is the opposite to traditional photography and believes in the use of multiple techniques to achieve perfection. He can use digital processes or take advantage of the latest computer-modelling software but can also play with photogram, the camera less technique advanced by Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy in which the picture is created placing the objects directly on to a light sensitive materials, such as photographic paper.
His works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London, the Kunstmuseum Basel, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York among many others.