Nobody ever discovered ugliness through photographs. But many, through photographs, have discovered beauty. Except for those situations in which the camera is used to document, or mark social rites, what moves people to take photographs is finding something beautiful….Nobody exclaims, “Isn’t that ugly! I must take a photograph of it.” Even if someone did say that, all it would mean is: “I find that ugly thing. . . beautiful.”

Sontag, S.  On Photography, Picador, 1977, p85

I am preparing 3×3 foot prints for an upcoming exhibition and it didn’t really occur to me until I was looking at the huge prints that there was an abundance of filth in one of my photos. I was aware that I had photographed a room in an abandoned apartment/hotel that had no glass in the window frames and had been exposed to the elements and wildlife, (rodents, pigeon, transients) for several years and while I was there shooting I was mindful not to step in, touch without gloves or rest anything but my tripod anywhere in the room. But I wasn’t conscious of it when I saw the shot (above) or even when I was editing the file for the printer! All I could see was the ruinous beauty of  the room: the “Mom & Dad I Use Drugs” poster, the warm glow of the morning sun on the brick exterior, the tones of wear on the sitting room chair and the reveal of the shades of paint the room had boasted over the years.

 

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