Beautiful vs Ugly

In the philosophy of photography and aesthetics, we can categorize photos into a binary categorization: either beautiful or ugly. But what makes a photo beautiful or ugly? Or what makes things beautiful or ugly?

Well first of all, I believe all aesthetics are subjective.

For example, a bear might find (another) bear beautiful, whereas an albatross would find another albatross as beautiful. But a bear will find the albatross ugly, and the albatross will find the bear ugly.

Taken to photography, I like minimalist photos and I find it beautiful, whereas I find (most) HDR photography as ugly. Yet the HDR photographer will find HDR photos as beautiful, and minimalist photos as ugly.

Cultivate your own aesthetic ideal

With aesthetics, our tastes are constantly changing and evolving. For example as a child I preferred sweet foods (ketchup and captain crunch cereal), but now I prefer bitter foods and drinks (bright, acidic espresso and bitter melon).

For photography what you decide as beautiful or ugly is your personal decision and taste. Never let anyone else superimpose their aesthetic ideals on you; discover your own taste for yourself, and shoot photos that taste delicious to you!


Scroll to Top