Fascinated by photograms — created by laying objects on photosensitive paper and exposing it to light — but aware of their limitations, the German photographer Thomas Ruff sought to experiment with the form using virtual technology. A few years ago he posted an ad, asking for someone with knowledge of light refractions and digital imaging to get in touch. Two years later, with the help of professor Wenzel S Spingler, Ruff created “Photograms”, a cameraless photo project. Working in a digital darkroom, Ruff used 3D software to render impressions of objects, playing with colour and light to create abstract images inspired by the Bauhaus.
“It is a bit like Plato’s cave. No longer do you have pictures of reality or objects; you only have their shadows,” Ruff says of photograms.
“16. Photogram” (2015), in which kaleidoscopic shards sit suspended in space, will be on display along with a range of Ruff’s work at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo.
‘The Thomas Ruff Exhibition’ at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, from August 30 to November 13; thomasruff.jp
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