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Ruff believes that photography can only capture the surface of things, conveying what he describes as ‘the authenticity of a manipulated and prearranged reality’. In 1981, he began a series of colour portraits of his friends and fellow students at the Düsseldorf Academy. Each subject is framed like a passport photo against a plain background. The portraits resolutely refuse to provide any psychological insights into the sitters.

May 2010