As if this were a highly personal cartography, these two images by Ruff work the ground, organise it and distribute it according to rules of composition and balance of volumes. They are flat images, with no concession to aestheticism and no intention whatever of scanning the details of industrial architecture, as Albert Renger-Patzsch did in the twenties or the Bechers themselves later.
"Ruff strips the buildings of the architectural context, of their inhabitants, of their vehicles, of the plant life, of all references to the everyday or to the passage of time."
Just as in his series of portraits, the large format and the colour of the images heighten the feeling of the strange presence of what is familiar and trivial at the same time. "Flat photographs and nothing more," as Ruff himself commented. Certainly, in Ruff's work photography is constantly questioning its functioning and its reason for existence. Rooted in the "new Objectivity" or in what the Americans call "straight photography", the subject matter, concerned with the banal and the bland consolidates his conception of photography as a pure mechanical, impersonal recording of reality and, in the end, an instrument for his own mental constructs.
In this case, architecture as an instrument for organising space becomes a breeding ground for Ruff's modelling of images. The composition, the balance of forms, the parallelism of the lines, the volumetric relation between the ground and the sky and the combination of textures are carefully studied in each of these two images, so that the final image is both trivial and intimidating. Certain icons or signals evoke the absurdity of human presence and, once again, underline its absence.