Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Ugly (Reverse Wilde Evolution)

Posted: October 15, 2013 in Commentary, Creativity, Digitally Manipulated Images, Nature, Nature Photography, Oregon, Photography
Tags: , , , , , ,

Ese’s Shoot & Quote Challenge this week is “Ugly.” Of course there are many stories, sayings and quotes about ugliness. Some are optimistic/inspirational like the ones about the ugly duckling that was actually a swan or the ugly caterpillar that becomes the beautiful butterfly. Other’s see ugliness as the manifestation of some problem with society. For example the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche believed that much ugliness in the world came from people looking for ugliness: “The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.” Ugliness has been the source of a great deal of humor over the years. The U.S. comedian Rodney Dangerfield had a well know zinger: “My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you’re ugly too.” Never a man to mince words, Winston Churchill’s quip in response to a woman who said he was drunk, which he likely was, is among the most famous quotes on ugliness: “I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.”

This is a rather roundabout way of getting to the quote that underlies the inspiration for my photo essay.

Oscar Wilde said that: “No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.”

This is surely and sadly true here in the U.S. as we see our nation being divided who claim to be acting under lofty banners like “TRUTH” or “PATRIOTISM” or “FAIRNESS” but the anger on their faces makes one take a step back from a form of madness that has come upon them. But that is another story and I digress ….

In a twist and with apologies to Ese for my presumption, I decided to try a “Reverse Wilde.” (By the way, I must warn people not to try this at home. Only highly skilled professionals with the proper equipment can safely perform  a “Reverse Wilde.” In this specific situation the “Reverse Wilde” went very smoothly and suddenly there bloomed  new Wilde-inspired  quote: “No object is so ugly that, under certain conditions, it will not look beautiful.” I can’t say that I am confident that this is always true, but I thought that I might be able to demonstrate at least one situation were it could be seen to be so. Thus as food for thought, I present the following photos.

Fungus Among Us

The photo above is of some type of fungus growing on a decaying tree in Oregon. I am not generally repelled by such things and I won’t go into the exact details of why this forest of fungi gave me the creepy crawlies but it did. These stalks were little, around 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) tall. For lack of a better description, let’s call them ugly.

The actual fungus may not be able to evolve rapidly, but a photo can. As a result, if we blur the image and add some color we might have what could (with quite a bit of imagination) be called a festive fungus.

Festive Fungus

The fungus photo continues its evolution and eventually it begins to looks like the photos we have seen of a young galaxy (at which point, the transformative process having come to a reasonable ending point from my point of view, I stop).

Evolution of the fungus

So something quite “ugly” becomes something akin to one of the most beautiful things in the universe and we have a demonstration of a “Reverse Wilde,” namely:

“No object is so ugly that, under certain conditions, it will not look beautiful.”

I hope you enjoy this addition to Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Ugly.

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  1. Ese' s Voice says:

    You have been original and with an unexpected, interesting interpretation of the challenge – like you always are. I really enjoyed the way you looked at “ugly” and your “Reverse Wilde”. It all depends so much on the way we look at things…and what we end up seing.


    • beluga53 says:

      I apologize the the delay in responding to your comment. I used to be pretty good at managing my time, but not so much lately so things that should be done sooner are sometimes done later:).

      I really appreciate your comments. It isn’t exactly that I try to have a different take on things, it just seems to happen. I look at things from a lot of angles and perhaps am less concerned that others with doing things in a way that others expect. It isn’t so much out of the box thinking as though there is no box. The downside is that while I may like something, it may be horrible for others. I have an enormous advantage over many photographers in that I am a committed amateur photographer who specifically does not sell my photos. I don’t have to make a living with photography so I get to do what I want. The downside is that I am a poor judge as to whether what I do works or not. For that reason I greatly appreciate the feedback that others give to me because it serves as a good way to make sure my freedom to do what I want hasn’t turned into some kind of self-indulgent drivel. The little tag line on my website says it pretty well, I am trying to provide “Fuel for the eyes and mind.” One other thing that I want to add is that I continue to greatly appreciate the work that you do on the challenge that I participate in as well as the other things that you do I sometimes have a hard time just keeping up with my blog (like recently when other parts of life intrude:).


  2. seeker says:

    Fungus are wet, Wilde and wonderful. Hi, Mr. Beluga. I posted your comment about “Steve Jobs” . Did you read the comments what readers had to say? It was a good food for thought. Thank you, again,


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