creativity exercise: beautiful ugly


“We are not interested in the unusual, but in the usual seen unusually.” – Beaumont Newhall

You know your camera inside and out.  You achieve perfect sharpness, perfect color, perfect exposure 100% of the time … and that makes you a brilliant technician.  All you need now is a beautiful subject, and you automatically have a beautiful, captivating photograph – right?  But what does it take to be an artist?  Part of it is developing the kind of eye that can recognize the potential for an ordinary object to become something extraordinary within the viewfinder.  Let’s take that creative visualization a bit further.  Let’s go beyond the mundane…

This month, your challenge is to photograph a subject or scene traditionally considered ugly, unappealing, undesirable, or even downright repulsive … and capture it in a way that draws us in.  It could be a dumpster, a dirty sink, a toilet, tangled cords, clutter, litter, something damaged, cracking, rusting, stained, ripped, frayed, broken, decaying … you get the idea.  I’m talking about the kind of stuff you typically AVOID including the in the frame because it would detract from your subject.  In this case, I want you to make it your subject.  How can you make it beautiful or interesting?  Is it about changing up your physical perspective?  Working with a different lens?  Using light creatively?  Emphasizing color, lines, or texture?  Converting it to black and white or otherwise processing it creatively?  Let’s see what you’ve got!

editors’ choice

Congratulations to the ladies below whose photographs were selected as this month’s Editors’ Choices!




Celeste Jones



Jessica Nelson

Megan Dill

Thank you to everyone who participated in the exercise!  We love seeing all the beautiful imagery!

Do you want to participate in the next Creativity Exercise?  Visit the forum here where Sarah has challenged us with the theme “Permission to Copy“.  Don’t have a membership to Clickin Moms yet?  Head on over here to sign up!  You can still participate in this Beautiful Ugly challenge by either visiting the forum here or sharing with us in the comments below.  We’d love to see your work!

free creative photography exercises by Sarah Wilkerson for Clickin Moms


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