Thomas Ruff is one of the most successful German photographers working today. Drawing inspiration more from the fine art tradition than that of photography, the Düsseldorf-based artist who trained under the influential husband and wife team Bernd and Hilla Becher constantly challenges our perception of what photography is and can be. Conceptual in nature, his work often subverts common techniques and styles, with digital manipulation and appropriation recurring themes. His work has ranged from computer-generated prints of lush psychedelic color fields to night vision photographs made to resemble military and espionage techniques. In the last few years he's experimented more and more with appropriation, culminating in the 2003 collection of "Nudes," which were based on Internet pornography and then digitally processed and obscured, and the "jpeg" series, which takes compressed files and enlarges them to the breaking point, creating an abstraction in the process.