Thomas Ruff and Steven Pyke

After reading the essay William A. Ewing wrote i wanted to compared 2 different styles of portraits, Thomas Ruff and Steven Pyke.


The first thing as a viewer i notice is the amount of detail in the Steven Pyke portrait. There is so much more depth within the photograph and you are able to see every part of the subjects face clearly, even though this photograph is in black and white i still feel it is much stronger in term of aesthetics. Pyke seems to keep in mind the topography of the face when taking photographs of people, i feel he understand the landscape of someone face and the beauty it holds. The use of lighting does enhance this ‘landscape’ and makes each wrinkle and hair stand out and become part of this breathtaking scene. Thomas Ruff on the other hand challenges this thought of topographics of the face by just using simple, even lighting. Everything is lit exactly evenly, the composition is central, there is no depth to his portraits. I feel that Ruff is playing with this physiognomy idea, even though contemporary photograpers don’t agree with this idea Ruff is pushing it that one step further. He is showing that people interpret faces exactly how they would like to whether it be based upon their personal experiences or just using the subjects facial features. Ruff portraits are completely empty and mundane. Before, i wouldn’t be appealed to them in anyway but after reading Ewings article i understand all the different directions portrait photographers take to make images.


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