The Gallery #6: Ugly

7 Apr

Ugly… it sort of fades when you point a camera at it… ugly.

I just can’t see ugly through my lens no matter how hard I try.

So I decided to go photograph something I’d already pretty much decided was ugly. Not visually ugy, but ugly by its existence.

Perth City Hall

As a child walking past the City Hall I’d always avoid looking at those ground level grated windows.

I was sure that’s where they kept the prisoners.

But I grew up and the City Hall, whilst never the haunt my parents remember, Herman’s Hermits, Dave Dee… weekly dances, it certainly holds some memories.

Teen discos, school prize givings, sitting down to God Save The Queen and standing up to Hipsway, Runrig and before they closed the doors forever, Morrisey.

It’s ugly now because it’s empty, locked up, abandoned.

And the council dithers and daudles and won’t just be done with it and knock the damn thing down.

Behind the City Hall hides one of the more famous churches in Scotland, St John’s Kirk.

And down each side of the City Hall are hidden wine bars, restaurants and pavement cafes.

All struggling for light in the shadow of the carcass of our City Hall.

Still I can’t bring myself to actually call it “ugly”.

Not when a few streets away I find boarded up shops, “To Let” signs and more of my town abandoned.

More “ugly” over at Tara’s @ Sticky Fingers



34 Responses to “The Gallery #6: Ugly”

  1. Plan B April 7, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    Really interesting. I love the daffodils. Not sure that’s ugly at all, in fact. And then the town hall might not be the most stunning piece of architecture anyway, but you’re right, the boarded up houses and depressing sites of economic disaster are so much worse.

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

      I think may have strayed from ugly to downright depressing – oh dear! πŸ™‚

  2. jfb57 April 7, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    I’m a big fan of daffs so it was SO sad to see them dead. They are great though because they don’t make a mess – just die & wait for you to remove them.

    Like your buildings!

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

      My dead daffs seem to wait a thoroughly indecent amount of time to be thrown out – I wonder what they look like today….

  3. Heidi April 7, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    I like how you’ve put it: not visually ugly, but ugly by its existence. I had considered the metal spiky thing at the top of the train station fence but when I looked closer it was actually rather intricate. Thanks for the great phoros πŸ™‚

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

      It’s soooo difficult to see anything much as ugly when you really look at it – and that’s what you do with a camera or even earlier when you start to think about pointing a camera at something – you really look.

  4. maggy, red ted art April 7, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    is the city hall ugly? if so, your photos make it look very interesting and not ugly at all!Love the dead daffodils. Great job on making them “look nice” again..

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

      The City Hall and me have a love hate relationship – knocking it down would create a fabulous town square for markets and all sorts…. but I’m torn since criminal town planning has already seen virtually all of ancient Perth wiped out. It’s a quandary!

  5. Chelle April 7, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    love the photos! They represent what you said with words;-)

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

      Thank you. Not a cop out then? πŸ˜‰

  6. Caroline April 7, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    Your pics aren’t ugly at all (you’re right), but your words explain the sentiment perfectly x

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

      Thank you – in the end I quite enjoyed this theme but I’m all photo’d out now and I haven’t even done my 365 photo today (oops!)

  7. audreyhorne April 7, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    A great post – the photographs are beautiful. The last photograph and your words moved me – it’s such a shame to see a place decay.

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

      This small stretch of the High Street always seems to be worst hit in a recession – it was in the 1980s and it bounced back – I’m sure it will again πŸ™‚

  8. Trish@ Mum's Gone to April 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    This theme is difficult for everyone and in general hasn’t brought out our best photography skills. I think the words in our posts are more interesting this week. However Mrs W has come up trumps again for giving us some stunning pics and great narrative.

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

      The only truly ugly photos I could find were just badly taken lol! Getting an angle for this one was certainly challenging. I like a bit of a challenge me πŸ™‚

  9. Annie April 7, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    It’s odd really. As a photographer myself all I can see are fantastic places to point my camera. Great photographs and I’m also looking at them with my mono eyes on, some of them would be great B&W.

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

      I had the last one processed in dageurrotype and it was pretty bleak looking – dunno why I went with the softer version… subconsciously softening the blow… mibbe.

  10. Nova April 7, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Great pictures as usual, I always look forward to seeing yours. I agree the daffodils, amazingly, look great and the City Hall looks good to me too.
    the last one is just sad.

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

      Ah thank you – ugly is in the eye of the beholder and all that πŸ˜‰

  11. veryanniemary April 7, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    When I lived in the Uk, I found the gray sky and the wet streets ugly, but looking at your photos, I found myself looking for those very things and smiling…..

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

      I tell you – I wasn’t smiling much with the drizzle drizzling all over my lens πŸ™‚ Funny how we appreciate things more from a distance tho isn’t it? I suppose that explains why Scots aboard are so vehemently Scottish πŸ™‚

  12. Wendy April 7, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Love the pictures, especially the church. Did the “to let” signs happen suddenly or has there been a gradual abandonment of the city? Very sad that businesses aren’t thriving…looks like a fun and interesting city to walk around and explore.

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

      It’s just that stretch of street. I have no idea why it gets hit first or hardest but it always does. Perhaps the rates are too high? I think the council have been accused of that in the past. First to go was Bang & Olufsen, then Venture… too many luxury goods in one location perhaps? It filled with small private arty types and a few are hanging on.

  13. Brighton Mum-Teenage Angst April 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    Your great photos seemed to have raised the subject matter above the word ugly. Stunning photos, if a little sad.

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

      Thank you muchly. It wasn’t “enjoyable” in the strict sense of the word, taking these photos. It was revealing though… made me think.

  14. Lorraine April 7, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    Love the picture of the daffs, and Perth too, have not been there for ages.
    Your right about the lens thing though.

    • mrsw April 7, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

      I don’t think you’re alone – tis very quiet these days

  15. Victoria April 7, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    I think it all looks rather splendid except the last pic. Faded grandeur always does it for me.

    • mrsw April 8, 2010 at 8:15 am #

      I think it’s costing us a fortune (collectively speaking) to keep it looking as grand as it does! There’s no way it could look this good having sat empty for so many years without a serious amount of maintenance πŸ™‚

  16. Barbara April 7, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    I like your pictures. Apart from the last one, they are all rather beautiful. I get what you mean about the act of photography forcing you to look at things in more depth and subsequently you seeing beauty in places you wouldn’t have formerly.

    It was a trickier topic than it looked at first glance. I think you’ve covered it brilliantly.

  17. Marylin April 7, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    Gorgeous! I’m even starting to recognise some of the places that you’ve photographed! πŸ˜‰

    You’re right, I can’t ever find anything “ugly” through my camera lens today either.

  18. Hayley April 8, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    See funnily enough I dont see any of those things as ugly! Its sad seeing the hall boarded up and I went somewhere recently that was like there and it was sad to see more than ugly I reckon!

    Wonderful pics as usual! πŸ˜€


  1. Digital disasters – Scottish Roundup - April 11, 2010

    […] the challenge of photographing something ugly, Clinically Fed Up decided to feature Perth City Hall. “Not visually ugly, but ugly by its existence.” I […]

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