Tuesday 12 June 2007

Ugly. In Order of Appearance

I have been asked twice to show some "ugly" sites of Vienna.
Very difficult assignment: What is ugly?
I tried for days
to find something truly offensive to the sense of sight!
It was not easy!

I almost shouted out "Oh, goody!", when one evening I happened to be stuck in traffic right along an unsightly wall which hides the railroad tracks leading to a Vienna railroad station (Westbahnhof). Camera at the ready, I started shooting,
much to the puzzle- and amusement of the folks in the cars behind me. Traffic moving at the ugly pace of an inch a minute, they had plenty of time to wonder, and I to zoom in on the carefully chosen subjects.

The result? Ugly?
I think I missed the assignment.

Have you seen Aki Kaurismäki's movie Man Without A Past ("Mies vailla menneisyyttä"? There are some stunningly beautiful scenes at the very beginning of the movie. Kaurismäki shows us an industrial area, a container port, with the dilapidated buildings painted the most brilliant colours, against a perfect blue sky. What could essentially be ugly and depressing, looks pleasing to the eye.

Nanni Moretti, in his movie Dear Diary ("Caro Diario"), also manages to transform an essentially ugly landscape in a rusty seaport into a thing of beauty by letting a tall snow-white cruise-ship slide slowly and majestetically into the scene (Nanni by the way loves Sachertorte).

What do you think of my attempt at greatugliness?


  1. That was me!
    I asked for ugly!
    I'm afraid you've fallen a little short of the mark - your artistic eye is far too evident.
    Shots 2 & 5 are quite beautiful!
    Shots 6 & 8 are a bit ugly.
    But seriously, it is wonderful to see some sights of Vienna that aren't picture postcard perfect.
    Thank you so much for the look around.

  2. i don't think you can DO ugly...

    your composition turned the blight into art...
    sorry! i think maybe you failed at ugly.

    your usual vienna shots seem
    so curly and roundy and old-fashion worldly
    (did i say that?)
    and this seems more straight and sharp and bright moderny.
    but still,
    your Gift of Cropping
    transformed the potentionally ugly into,
    well, ART...
    or something...


  3. Anonymous13 June, 2007

    You are an artist merisis.....and you are making beauty out of ugliness.
    Photos 3, 4 and 7 are winners. What about a poster for your library :-)

  4. Thank you all! :-)
    As for cropping, I hadn't much wiggle room, sitting in the car, and sticking the camera out my side window (there was oncoming traffic between the wall and my side of the road - and they moved!).
    I must say that I was quite impressed by how the railway company keeps the buildings in fresh paint, pretty colors for utility's sake, don't you think so?)

  5. I think - nothing can be termed as ugly as its all about perception. One has to feel very strong to get that point of view across. In all the pics - my first thought was -hmmm what that wire is doing...oh if you would take away that roof - that would be pretty....so I think may be what you have shown is - Beauty goes with some imperfection.....lol....

    Yeah and please do not try again...its not you....lol...

  6. Anonymous13 June, 2007

    Hmm. I still don't think Vienna is ugly, but you did yoru best. ^_-

  7. i agree. I think its only ugly by comparison!

  8. Not really ugly, no. Not quite as breath-takingly gorgeous perhaps... :-) Your innate sense of design is evident.

    It was fun to see some different kinds of sights! Thanks for attempting.

  9. I was just thinking yesterday that I have a suggestion for something ugly for you to photograph in Vienna: The Vienna General Hospital (AKH). It is huge and hideous and looks like a prison. Worst of all, it is one of the biggest buildings in Vienna! I challenge you: Turn that monstrosity into art (I am sure you will.)But also post a regular picture of it, so everyone knows how ugly it really is.


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