Many artists choose to let the viewer's imagination find the meaning and purpose of works. Unlike others that directly address the message simple and clear. Some artists statements are straight forward addressing society, culture and/or personal identity such as in the case of thomas Ruff and his "Portraits" series.
Thomas Ruff is recognized for his unique use of the human form, its destruction, and the differences between each individual and their appearances. "Portraits", is a series of portraits (of course) that are not necessarily photographs taken by Ruff. He had collected them by asking friends and "normal people" (not famous) to go and get a portrait in a studio of their preference. The participants can choose their outfit, pose, and background.
This particular series has caught my attention because of the way the artist challenges the viewer to designate personality to each character portray here. Even though that the observer does not know if the subject has altered his/her personality such as their clothes, colors and accessories, in order to make us believe that she/ he is something and someone else. Here comes my fascination for the use of photography that presents us a "pre-created" reality. From this point, we can discuss the importance that society gives to having unique style or singular identity when all we do is follow stereotypes that has been created and presented to us even though we know they are a distortion from reality.
On the other hand, the idea of Ruff not being the photographer for every single shot questions if the artist has been drawn to the same perception of these persons as the observer or if he is trying to challenge us and make us to create connections within the subjects.