How do you see "ugly"?
02/11/18Like beauty, the perception of “ugly” lies largely in the eye of the beholder. On a theme night that featured this topic, members produced images that covered a range of interpretations drawn from pet hates and aversions, as well as their travels across the world.
Diana Walker’s macro work took us head to head with a number of common creatures whose features are certainly less endearing when up close and personal! Others recorded ugly street scenes at demonstrations or in far flung places where poverty abounds, and waste disposal is clearly not a priority. Janice Cuer’s intrepid eye took us to a public toilet in France, and drew empathy as she exposed the blatant misogyny of Las Vegas advertising. Closer to home, Graham Nicholls zoomed in on grotesque gargoyles and ugly cricket shots, whilst Jill Toman’s images of the grime of the Ganges, together with Jane Richardson’s particularly gruesome renditions of Chinese sculptures of human torture in all its forms, made most of us glad we live deep in rural Somerset where “ugly “ rears its head less often.
The more neutral theme of “uniforms” generally produced images more easy on the eye. The saffron and crimson robes of the monks of Asian countries provided colour and flair that equalled that of the ceremonial uniforms of our armed forces on formal parades, or when providing Guards of Honour at family weddings. The swinging kilts of the pipe and drum bands in Edinburgh and the more practical daily attire of our ambulance men and women, lifeboat crews and firemen that keep us safe, reminded us of how rooted we are as a group in our own unique heritage and culture.
Images of on duty policemen and women enjoying an ice cream and sharing a joke across our mostly peaceful land, contrasted starkly with the powerfully oppressive, strutting and posing of the guards in Russia and Cuba, and brought more sobering thoughts. The dusty, camouflaged attire of our troops in Afghanistan took us back to “ugly” in the context of wars across the world in which are troops engage. Perhaps the most fitting, final images of uniformity were provided on the night by Jane Richardson, who faithfully recorded the wonders of the Terracotta Army in all their dusty detail , on a holiday that involved a cruise that embraced the sights of Bejing warriors, and the smouldering atmosphere of Ho Ch Minh City.
Next week members are set to enjoy outside speaker, Jane Rees’s talk, entitled “My Photography, and are urged to give some thought to where they might like to engage in some Night Photography on the planned evening out at the end of the month.