Campany and Colberg

Brief for Research Point; Read the reviews by Campany and Colberg and, if you haven’t already donte so, use them to begin a contextual section of your learning blog. Try to pick out the key points made by each writer. Write about 300 words

Before any one can complete the brief above they will need to know a little about the artist/subject being reviewed. Both Campany and Colberg were in this case reviewing a German photographer/artist called Thomas Ruff.

(Click here for more information on Thomas Ruff)

Colberg starts off by stating the thoughts of other photographers/artists debating whether or not Ruffs latest work, jpegs is art or photography. Colberg felt that there was beauty in some of the images, although the concept had a bit too much on the technical side. Colberg implies that Ruff is only stating the obvious, when Ruff talks about the effect blowing up images to make patterns has.

gallery ruff jpegsHe gives tremendous credit to Ruff for pushing the bounds of photography, to the limit, waiting to see what the end result may be.  Colbergs thoughts on blowing up the images so big and exhibiting them in gallery, was not as effective as looking at them in a book. He felt that the images in the book were better displayed than on a gallery wall.

He found the images a thing of beauty and made him re-appreciate this kind of work, be it that the concept was a little thin.  On the whole what Colberg is saying is that some of the images were beautiful/interesting, but he did not really understand what they were all about. He makes reference to the ‘text’ in jpegs and states, that “everything would have been 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, the text in jpegs did not help me much either”

Link to Colbergs Review

Campany in his review seems to understand what Ruff is saying with his images, they offer Campany aesthetic and intellectual pleasure. Campany feels that Ruffs work seems at times cold and dispassionate, yet Ruffs artistic ways brings drama through the image, on all levels, potentially able to solicit individual and global response to the public /collective context.

ruff dday

On the issue of Ruffs making use and adaptation of archived material, Campany feels this is a way of keeping things in perspective: ‘making sense and staying sane’ and ‘maybe the key to both psychic and political health’. All forms of printed material, images, regardless of where they are displayed, what form they take, portray ‘wild and unpredictable’ behaviour. Thinking about some of WW11 images, and the grainy look they have, Campany feels that grain gives them an increased feeling of urgency, portraying the extreme human endurance felt by some of the soldiers during the D-Day Landings.

As Campany states, Ruff has a preference of working in series. In the series jpegs,  where the images came from seems irrelevant, yet together and individually they have meaning. Meaning to the individual and the collective. As Ruff has admitted to using the internet as a source for his material, Company questions whether the internet is an archive or an archive of archives?

Campany interprets Ruffs work as something that is full of drama and reflection; Campany writes “The result is a great tension or drama. And it is tempting to see in this drama something of the character of modern life with its great forces of rationality and irrationality’

Link to Campanys Review

In Summery

In summery these two reviews were written by two people, one understanding his version of what Ruffs Jpegs is all about, the other not fully understanding the meaning behind the series. Each looking at Jpegs from a different angle. This only goes back to the question, Is it art or photography? In my opinion, it can be both. I have personally at times, questioned the use of photo manipulating programmes, changing a digital image so much so that it does not resemble the original image shot. So does this mean we can have something called an Artistic Photograph?  Distorting the image to make more of a statement?

Read More On Cropping to Increase Pixels

Link to Surface and Depth


The photograph above is of my 88 year old mother. I find the pixelation makes her look older and faded. By reducing the pixels, the twinkle in the eye is also  lost. I suppose in a funny way, its adds a little drama to the image.  But my preferences lie with the original below, as when I took the photo, it was to remind me someone I love.  Emotions and preferences are individual and as they say, each to his own.



The image above was taken on a midnight river trip when visiting turkey. In my opinion, the reduction of pixels has enhanced the colour, making a little abstract, especially the reflections in the water. Has this process made it more dynamic? More interesting? Has the fact that its in colour made a difference to the aesthetics?  There is no wrong or right answer. I feel its up to individual taste.

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