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  #99 Ugly
Entry 2 of 14
Despoiled Waterfronts       ©2011 Jade O.
Panasonic DMC-FZ30       2nd place, 84 points
1/100s, f4.5, ISO 80, 35mm, Normal Program, Pattern, no flash
Post-Processing: Three image pano. Crop, resize, sharpen.       Extra Info: Beautiful settings for an ugly assault on nature.

A part of the Toronto waterfront, near the mouth of a once spectacular Don River, a one time natural paradise, has been denuded, and dredged, and shored, and channeled into oblivion. No remanent of what once was, remains, except the water itself. Barren of its former lush temperate forest, mere scrub grasses exist here, and where reeds and waterfoul once nested now lie piles of salt heaped under massive tarps awaiting winter roads, leaching and poisoning the ground and the waters around them. The ugly side of industrialization, the Port of Toronto none the less has helped develop the economic engine of Toronto which now is entering a wondrous post-industrial age, with a "clean" economy which generates revenue to fund the reclamation of wastelands, the rebirth of the urban forest, and the return of wildlife in such projects as the Leslie Street spit -- a natural wonder of nesting bird sanctuaries extending like a finger into Lake Ontario, a fish and migratory bird habitat at the foot of the City core, an untouched wilderness lying just beyond the smokestacks visible here. Given half a chance, nature pushes aside our ugliness to expose her true wonder and beauty, and the marvel of creation.
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Mar 30, 2011
    Congratulations Jade. Yes, your right - beauty is a key benefit.

Jade O.
Mar 21, 2011
    Very interesting result~! Thanks for all your votes and comments! This prettier photo did better than my Main entry so maybe beauty wins out after all!!!

    Comments After End of Challenge    
    Comments During Voting    

Jade O.
Mar 21, 2011
    Thank you all for your comments. It'll be interesting to see the votes.

This take on ugly seems to have posed the question, not, What is beauty? but rather, What is ugly? It seems ugliness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Jade O.
Mar 21, 2011
    Michael, I love these sorts of analyses; yes a split horizon which somehow works though I have no theory why the broken rule is not problem here. I thought the shed essential for depth of field and to add a human perspective to the scene; I tried a clone out of the smokestacks and it looked far too pretty! (see outtakes after the voting is in).
Edited on Mar 21, 2011

Mar 21, 2011
    Here's a broken rule (never split the photo with the horizon) that works quite well in this case. I find the shed distracting and I think the photo looks better when it is cropped away. I understand & agree with your description of ugly but once again your skill has turned the scene into something attractive.

Jade O.
Mar 21, 2011
    LaRee, Lo Interesting diversity of opinions; my thought was that ugly scenes can still make beautiful photographs but perhaps I've failed to bring the ugly through since that seems to be a common thread in much of the commentary.

I think for me, water surrounded by industrial development is inherently ugly; smokestacks, powerlines, rusty steel freighters, oversized mounds covered in black tarp and utilitarian industrial buildings, a horrifically ugly intrusion and transformation of what was once a natural paradise rivaling the beauty of any national park.
Edited on Mar 21, 2011

Mar 21, 2011
    I just don't get ugly out of this.

Mar 20, 2011
    It's encouraging to hear that at least in some areas, we are taking responsibility for our assault on nature, and are at least trying to make amends.

Jade O.
Mar 20, 2011
    Thanks, Old Finn!

Old Finn
Mar 20, 2011
    Would be a beautiful picture without those heaps and industrial buildings. So Ugly suits here. My nr 1.

Jade O.
Mar 19, 2011
    raf Ice? Those are giant salt crystals! LOL! (Trust me, for Toronto, this passes as barren AND ugly.)

raf/Franz/rc I considered whether a photo had to be ugly to convey ugliness but decided in my internal debate that it did not. A beautiful image cannot hide an ugly reality and in my mind, beauty could well serve to enhance the ugliness of the reality. Whether I succeeded photographically here, is a whole other matter, however.
Edited on Mar 19, 2011

Mar 19, 2011
    I am torn here. I like the photo a lot. Is it ugly? Perhaps I am too unfamiliar with icy conditions to consider this truly ugly, even though I understand the things we do to our waterfronts in the interests of industry do despoil otherwise beautiful natural environments.

Mar 19, 2011
    Hmm, I've got mixed emotions here. You are showing an ugly place - and the extra info explains it sufficiently, but in the way you took the picture it still has some kind of beauty.
... OK, this sounds stupid - a picture should always look beautiful, even if it shows something wretched.
In my favs.

Mar 18, 2011
    This one is my no1. yes the scene is ugly, there's one near me called avonmouth which has large 2000 plus cars vans on on side motorways over the top and on th left coal depot and a wind farm.
The picture shows both the ugliness but also it beauty.
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By Jade O.


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