Thomas Ruff has been working on the "jpeg" series since 2004. It is based on photographs from the internet, but also on pictures taken by the artist himself with a digital camera or scanned templates. In doing so, he takes up the pictorial principles of the Impressionists and Pointillists. By reducing the resolution of the photos − i.e. reducing the number of pixels per centimetre − while simultaneously enlarging their format, he creates a new, coarser image that resembles a geometric pattern when viewed closely. A real scene can only be detected at the appropriate distance − in the case of "jpeg icbm02", a rocket taking off from the ground.
The digital geometric image structure, which actually indicates the degree of image resolution and detail accuracy, is converted into an aesthetic category. Ruff's "jpeg icbm02" is thus exemplary for one of the central features of the photography, or rather image, concept developed in the Becher class. The students of Bernd and Hilla Becher have a fundamental doubt, a sceptical attitude towards the claims of truth in photography.