In 2018, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London commissioned Ruff to create a body of work in celebration of its new Photography Centre. The artist was given access to its collection of over 800,000 photographs and was fascinated to discover a series of large-format paper negatives taken by British Army Captain and photographer Linnaeus Tripe in the 1850s. Depicting temples, palaces, and monuments, these were some of the earliest photographs ever taken of India and Burma (now Myanmar). Ruff was particularly drawn to the delicate beauty of the negatives themselves–160 years old and with varying degrees of discoloration and damage. He had a selection of the negatives photographed on a light-box and used a variety of digital imaging techniques to carefully retouch specific areas. He realized that Tripe had employed his own retouching techniques, painting on the reverse of the negatives to increase the dramatic impact of clouds and shadows. Ruff’s works thus become hybrids of Tripe’s original vision and the passage of time and technology. While the buildings and monuments are mostly in clear focus, other elements of the compositions appear blurry or painterly, emphasizing the enigma of places that had never before been photographed and in some cases no longer exist.