How many times have you looked at something and found that it was, well, just
not pretty? I know I have just about every time I go out into the field on a
photo shoot. However, many professionals have taken to not flowers nor models, but to
the nitty-gritty elements of the real world.
And, in the long run, these works end up in museums and galleries. Think
Not Pretty Made Pretty
© Matthew A. Bamberg
All Rights Reserved
Dorthea Lange's images of people suffereing during the Depression or Robert
Mapplethorpe's self portraits. All were riviting, filled with meaning...and not
One need not turn to suffering for their subject matter, but, instead, turn
to ordinary objects such as a stack of old newspapers, a bullfrog or snake
and other not-pretty things to turn pretty. Try shooting these objects at
different angles to bring out color and/or close-up to bring out detail.
Tips to Fnd the Not-So-Pretty-Turned-Pretty Photo Ops...
1. Texture - sharp objects, itchy animal close-ups, smooth as in a reptile,
scaly as in a puffer fish.
2. Smell - a skunk, anything gaseous, smoke, text such as Yum or Yuck.
3. Sight - anything that looks like a monster, abondoned vehicles,
impoverished parts of town.
4. Hearing - using text such as choo, choo, hmmm, ouch, a hand scratching a
blackboard, any musical instrument.
5. Taste - a bottle of Pepto Bismo or horseradish, brocolli, a close up of a
tongue with any type of food on it.
When taking a photo look for things that are powerful adjectives such as
sharp (as in ouch), faded, ancient, crushed, smashed, broken, battered, crude.
I'm sure you have your own ideas of making the ugly beautiful.
BetterPhoto.com's photography education
Check out BetterPhoto's online photography school, which offers interactive courses with top professionals and published authors.
Article by Matthew A. Bamberg. To learn more about photography, explore the many online photography and Photoshop classes offered here at BetterPhoto.com.