‘From That Moment Onwards…’
Project 3 – Surface and Depth
Research Point – Campany & Colberg
Read the reviews by Campany and Colberg and, if you haven’t already done so, use them to begin the Research section of your learning log. Try to pick out the key points made by each writer. Write about 300 words.
You can view the reviews here:
Campany and Colberg
Having read the reviews of Campany and Colberg regarding Thomas Ruff’s work ‘JPEGS’ I feel that both writers state some good points although can be seen to go off on a tangent when talking more in depth about the style of the photography.
David Company describes Ruff’s work as demanding, but also quotes that his work ‘offers very particular kinds of pleasure, both aesthetic and intellectual’. Furthermore, he is slightly critical in what he says further down in his review, claiming that Ruff’s work ‘seems cold and dispassionate’ but then continues by saying ‘but at times surprisingly beautiful.’
Company continues in his review covering a range of topics about archive, various influential artistic movements, grid and series work and goes in depth about pixels and grain. His review very much talks about the style and more behind the image, rather than the content of the photographs themselves. This approach is very interesting but I feel that it can lead astray to Ruff’s work itself.
In Colberg’s review of Ruff’s work he talks about whether it is photography or not, which is a very intriguing statement, he writes ‘In fact, many people – especially adherents of photographic orthodoxy – will probably vehemently deny that most of Ruff’s recent work is actually photography.’
He goes on to become more critical of Ruff’s work, when he says ‘And everything would be fine if there hadn’t been so many attempts to convince me that in reality “jpegs” is more. What that “more” really is I never managed to find out. Unfortunately, the text in Jpegs did not help me much, either. At various stages, I thought “Well, now we’re getting somewhere”, only for the author to end a thought. Well, sure, images on the web often have low resolution, and if you blow them up then they show funny patterns (caused by the image compression algorithms2), and of course, photography’s role has been changing through its use online – but all that is just so obvious! I get it!’
Although Colberg is fairly critical of Ruff’s work throughout his review, he does compliment him on various occasions describing his work as ‘beautiful’. My impression from Colberg’s review is that he is not so much critical of the beauty of the images, but how they have been printed and the concept behind them. His summery of the review backs up my impression, stating: ‘Either way, Jpegs is a stunningly beautiful book. Seeing the images in the book has made me re-appreciate the sheer beauty of this body of work, despite the ultimate thinness of the concept behind it.’
In conclusion, I feel Campany’s review covered many key points about the deeper insight and idea of photography and how the images are produced within history etc. and I think that Colberg’s review had key points to how it can be viewed and the concept behind it.
(David Campany: Thomas Ruff: Aesthetic of the Pixel, IANN MAGAZINE NO. 2, 2008 P.1)
(Review: jpegs by Thomas Ruff, Book Reviews, Photobooks By Joerg Colberg, Apr 17, 2009)
jpeg ny01, 2004, C-print, 276 × 188 cm
© Thomas Ruff
Note: This research task is also on Part 1 Research section as I wanted to place it both in my research and have it as an induvial project so it follows the layout of the degree, hopefully this doesn’t cause any confusion.
Below are two pictures taken by me, one is the original image and the other is a duplicate, just exported with Photoshop. I did this by following the instructions by OCA and taking the image on auto mode, then sticking it in Photoshop, then using the ‘save for web’ and changed the pixels to 180 X 270.
The image is of an out building at my house and you can really see the difference in quality once you change the pixels.