Thomas Ruff produced his Jpegs series without using a camera. Instead, he printed compressed electronic image files (jpegs), many of them downloaded from the Internet, at monumental scale. The series, which encompasses tranquil landscapes, scenes of war, and natural and man-made catastrophes, began with images of the September 11th terrorist attacks. To make this pixelated image of an erupting volcano, Ruff printed a low-resolution jpeg at a very large scale. At such size, the pixels—the building blocks of all digital images—are magnified to the point of breaking up the very image they compose. By foregrounding the repurposed photograph’s underlying structure and naming (msh for Mount St. Helens), Ruff calls attention to the ways digital images are constructed, circulated, and viewed today.
Additional text from Seeing Through Photographs online course, Coursera, 2016