Research point – ‘Jpegs’ (Thomas Ruff)

As directed by the course learning I took some time today to read the two reviews of ‘Jpegs’ the photo book created by Thomas Ruff.

The reviews can be Jörg Colberg and David Campany can be found at the following website addresses

Having not viewed the subject matter myself I found it a little hard to relate to both of the reviews. I found both reviews to be more focused on what the writer had to contribute on the subject matter rather than an actual critique of Thomas Ruff’s work.

Campany for example references the processes used by Ruff such as downloading low quality images from the internet of important and historic events and re delivering them in a large scale to cause the image to be viewed as its individual pixel makeup rather than as intended originally as a whole complete representation of the original subject matter. Colberg spend half the review waxing,lyrically about his own interpretation of why the artist strives for this look. Basing his thoughts on the images being part of an ever growing and multiplying archive. He talks at length about how the grain of film was interpreted as ‘authentic’ and ‘urgent’. Overall, I found the review uninformative, complex and self serving were one would expect and prefer a discussion of the artists work as presented.

On the other hand, Colberg presents his review as almost a love letter to the artist and again not a subjective review of the particular subject matter. Colberg fails to see beyond what is presented within the pages even going so far as to assume the whole point of the collection was to show that images deform as they are expanded in size. ‘Well, sure, images on the web often have low resolution’ Colberg presents during its assessment of the meaning of the collection. I find that Colbert’s review is nothing more than an observation of the techniques used and of the ‘beauty’ of the images. In the end he’s not willing to stand by his opinion that the series has no deeper meaning by claiming he is ‘being over critical’

Having read both reviews but only seeing one or two images separate to the book I find it difficult to pass judgement on Thomas Ruff’s work myself. But I feel that neither of these reviews helped me conceive what is presented by the artist. Personally I would rather have been taken on the journey the book creates with reference to what the artist presented as the concept, rather than Colbert’s shallow assessment and Campany’s pomposity.

From the images, I can form my own opinion, one of challenging the modern medium of digital capture. Testing its integrity, longevity and meaning. Representing its manipulative properties and the risk associated with altered, doctored and misrepresented images. I look forward to seeing if that opinion still stands if an when I get chance to review the whole book.

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