14 Man and Surroundings

Photography can showcase the surface of things, as do the large portraits by Thomas Ruff, one of the world’s most expensive artistic photographers. Apart from Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth, he is probably the best known of the Becher School photographers. To support his viewpoint, he takes portraits of people with a large-format camera, as if he is taking a meaningless passport photo that says nothing about the sitter’s personality. He then enlarges this “neutral” photo, to a size of almost 7 feet. You initially get the impression that it is a passport photo, but as you come closer to the image, the face starts disintegrating into its surface components. Standing directly before it, you see only a collection of pores, ...

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