All Good Things Are Three – Or Bad; The Pictures

The last of my three photo challenges I thought would be the most difficult. Not because the task itself was difficult, at least not by the words, which described the challenge, themselves, but more so, the mental process needed to accomplish it. As expected, fewer answered the challenge this time and sent a photo or a link to a photo. I was almost surprised – and very happy as a matter of fact – that a few of you my dear readers actually did participate. Kudos to you!

To recap: The challenge was to go out and deliberately photograph ugly and erroneous photos. Create something not only to break all the «established rules» as in the previous challenge, but actually with the intention to make ugly photo. By the first look, this may look like a dim-witted challenge. Why would you take ugly photos? The thing is, we who take photography seriously, often take it too seriously. And that serious approach too often inhibit seeing and capturing the world in a different light – literally and figuratively. We stick to what we know from a long life of photographing, will work. We get stuck in the same old rut.

This challenge is one way to get out of the rut. As anyone who has tried making ugly photos knows, this is very hard, not actually doing, but doing it deliberately. You have to break with everything you believe is right in the capturing process, you have to go against yourself and the backbone feeling that this far has governed your photographic approach. However, once you have tried to intentionally making ugly photos, it’s liberating. You are able to let go of any pretentions and whatever you have established as truths. Suddenly a whole new world is opening up to you. You can go wherever you want from there, photographically speaking. The ugly photos you collect in your camera might end up being nothing but ugly, but the experience itself is profound and may change the way you photograph hereafter.

Moreover, as you can see from the photos from the participants, every so often something very captivating can come out of the process itself. As with the challenges before, I won’t comment the individual photos, but again I would love to read any thoughts you may have.

Finally, I would like to thank the photographers who dared take up on this challenge. Their photos are shown in the order they were posted.



                       © Nia “photographybynia”


                       © Patrizia Mezzogori


                       © Elaine ”Totally Like Me”


                       © Mary Hone



                       © Nia “photographybynia”


                       © Patrizia Mezzogori


                       © Elaine ”Totally Like Me”


About Otto von Münchow

Photographer based in Norway
This entry was posted in Challenging Yourself, Creativity, Photography and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to All Good Things Are Three – Or Bad; The Pictures

  1. YellowCable says:

    A very good exercise, mentally as well as going about it. On the contrary, I found these photos present themselves well. I would not even thinking they are ugly 🙂

  2. Ruth says:

    Your blog inspires me. I didn’t participate in the challenge but I am going to keep my eyes tuned for ugly pictures, of which I have plenty. Keeping the eyes fresh is a challenge but I like your thoughts and challenges.

    • Keeping the eye fresh, is indeed a challenge, and that’s why we have to be conscious about – all the time. Do things we don’t necessarily believe will get us anywhere,but isn’t that really the only way to expand?

  3. shoreacres says:

    Now that I’ve seen some photos and pondered your challenge a bit more, it occurs to me that there’s also a difference between taking a photo of an inherently ugly subject (trash) and taking an ugly photo of something beautiful. To make trash beautiful, and a rose ugly: now there’s a challenge to our way of seeing the world!

  4. Mary says:

    I will say it was fun just pointing and shooting at whatever.

  5. paula graham says:

    Well, one man’s ugliness is another beauty!!! Interesting.

  6. Fun to watch, maybe I will have time today to make some ugly captures, hopefully I will get some beauties!

  7. The freedom to shoot like this is lots of fun and we don’t have to worry about paying for film!

  8. themofman says:

    I liken it to photographing an ugly subject. Many dread seeing one, let alone actually shooting one. I’ve taken some flak for photographing ugly things like homelessness, animal roadkill and street fights.

  9. Fascinating variety of entries, Otto. 🙂

  10. brooke says:

    Wonderful! I’ll have to give this a shot.

  11. leecleland says:

    Great to see the posts people sent in, tried to participate but a lot of what I choose to photograph is what others would call ugly (in nature) so it would have been just the normal shooting for me. I was hoping to get into town to get a different view, but that didn’t happen 😦 It did make me think about what I choose to take photos of though and that’s always a good thing.

  12. Elaine- says:

    Otto, i thought about this challenge, and as you know, taking bad photographs is the way i freed myself…. so i take a bad photo and process it to look nice… but i thought, what if i take a bad photo and PROCESS it to look bad too??? THIS has actually taken MUCH more courage than i actually have! i decided to take my ugly photos and mostly blur them and add grain until they are a complete eyesore haha, it really is hard!!!!

  13. niasunset says:

    I have to say, it wasn’t easy, especially to take an ugly photograph… 🙂 Some of you know me and I take so many pictures in a day and most of them are being wrong, not well, ….etc. But “ugly”… What is ugly? Opposite of beauty… what is beauty?… Goes on… Then I listened to dear Otto and I tried to find something ugly… It was a nice experience for me. Photography is great. Thank you dear Otto, Love, nia

  14. Interesting photos of an interesting assignment. I think it shows that there’s beauty in everything, even “ugly” things.

  15. I missed the challenge but I actually thought the photos weren’t ugly – challenging and thoughtful, but not ugly. Maybe I’m doomed to be the eternal optimist!

  16. Ptck says:

    Nice work everyone and unfortunate evidence

  17. And all are still better than most of the photos I take! (It’s why I take photos of the dog – you can’t really go wrong there!).

  18. Actually, I find these images most interesting.

  19. A terrific exercise Otto in both learning about our cameras but also and I feel in this instance learning more about our landscape / environment and how it is not being looked after.

  20. Patrizia M. says:

    I like these challenges because stimulate me, give way to try to see the picture in a different way than what we normally use.
    Thanks Otto.

  21. Interesting exercise, Otto. And not an easy one by any means.

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