Between 1981 and 1991 Ruff collected over 2500 newspaper photographs from German daily and weekly publications. Covering a broad range of topics such as politics, finance, sport, history, culture, science and technology, the images were chosen because they struck him as unusual or odd in some way. It wasn’t until 1990, motivated by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, that Ruff started to re-photograph these images to create his Newspaper Photographs series.
Images produced in newspapers are intended to illustrate a story or a feature article. Ruff’s aim with this series was to investigate how images function when they are removed from their context. Sometimes quite blurred, due to the combination of newspaper printing and subsequent re-photographing, many of these images act as precursors to Ruff’s later series.