Ugliness

You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to write about ugliness. There exists hardly any literature about it. If ugliness is mentioned, it’s always related to beauty. An even bigger challenge was to produce ugly pictures for this post. If you try to produce ugly pictures you will notice how much you are influenced by beauty-mania. “Everyone can produce these boringly beautiful pictures“, said Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma, “but you have to overcome quite some inhibition to produce ugliness!” and you get to know yourself in all your limitations.

Ihr glaubt es kaum, wie schwer es ist, über Hässlichkeit zu schreiben. Es gibt fast keine Literatur darüber. Wenn von Hässlichkeit die Rede ist, bezieht man sich auf sie als Gegensatz zur Schönheit. Noch schwerer fiel es Dina, den Beitrag mit hässlichen Bilder zu versehen. Wir hatten größte Schwierigkeiten hässliche Bilder zu produzieren. Versucht ihr hässliche Bilder zu schaffen, werdet ihr bemerken, wie ihr von einem konventionellen Schönheitswahn beeinflusst seid. “Aber ehrlich“, meinten Siri 🙂 und 🙂 Selma, “ein sogenannt schönes Bild kann jeder machen, keine Kunst! Um Hässliches zu produzieren, muss man sich überwinden” und dabei lernt man sich bestens in seinen Beschränkungen kennen.

Have you tried the beta version of Photoshop’s neural filters? Dina tried to create ugliness:
1) this is Klausbernd as photographed
2) this is Klausbernd as an old, happy man with normal hair
3) this is Klausbernd as an old, surprised man with thin hair
4) this is Klausbernd as an old, angry man with thick hair

Seeing something or someone as ugly is a way of looking. To call something or someone ‘ugly’ is discriminating. What we don’t like, what we don’t understand, and are afraid of we often use to call ugly.
The lowest common denominator in pronouncing something or someone as ugly is the sense of disgust or revulsion it produces in the viewer’s minds. But the un-beautiful has its charm too. Everything has its place, meaning, and significance in nature.

Etwas oder irgendwen als hässlich zu betrachten ist eine Frage der Sichtweise. Etwas oder irgendwen als hässlich zu bezeichnen ist diskriminierend. Wir bezeichnen meistens das als hässlich, was wir nicht mögen, was wir nicht verstehen und vor dem wir deswegen Angst haben.
Der Minimalkonsens in Bezug auf das, was wir als hässlich beurteilen, besteht darin, dass wir es ekelhaft oder widerlich finden. Aber auch das Unschöne hat seinen Charme. Alles hat seinen Platz und seine Bedeutung in der Natur.

The soul of the house.

Ugliness is an expression for a person, art, and other objects that are defined by the judgment of a person, the culture, and the zeitgeist, the epoch. It is often seen as a deviation from the individual or collective norm. Like beauty, ugliness is dependent on the conscious or even more subconscious ideology of the onlooker.

Die Bezeichnung ‘hässlich’ für eine Person, ein ästhetisches oder anderes Objekt ist vom Urteil der Urteilenden, der Kultur, des Zeitgeistes und des Zeitalters abhängig. Es drückt häufig eine Abweichung von der individuellen oder kollektiven Norm aus. Wie Schönheit ist Hässlichkeit von der mehr oder weniger bewussten Ideologie des Betrachters abhängig.

Schön ordentlich hässlich / well stacked, neatly cluttered

Biologists see ugliness as an indicator of a lack of genetic fitness. They suspect it’s instinctive because it’s important for choosing a partner. Especially signs of disease are seen as ugly in all cultures.
The idea of ugliness came up in the late middle ages. It was connected with the down and outies of society. These were the people with leprosy and pestilence but also people with dark hair and skin, hairy people, and those with a big nose and crooked teeth. Every deviation from the appearance of central European people was seen as ugly. We are all influenced by these judgments even today in our pseudo-enlightened societies. F.e. unattractive and un-European-looking people tend to get heavier prison sentences than attractive people.

Biologen sehen Hässlichkeit als Hinweis für eine genetische Schwäche. Sie vermuten, dass das Erkennen des Hässlichen instinktiv die Partnerwahl bestimmt. Besonders Krankheitszeichen werden in allen Kulturen als hässlich angesehen.
Die Idee des Hässlichen entstand im Spätmittelalter. Sie war an die Außenseiter der Gesellschaft gebunden. Das waren diejenigen mit dunklem Haar und dunkler Haut, die besonders Behaarten, die mit großen Nasen und schlechten Zähnen. Jede Abweichung vom Erscheinungsbild mitteleuropäischer Menschen wurde als hässlich betrachtet. Wir sind alle von diesen Vorurteilen beeinflusst. Das zeigt sich u.a. darin, dass unattraktive und nicht europäisch erscheinende Personen strengere Gefängnisstrafen bekommen als sogenannt attraktive Menschen.

Maize, February 2021

It isn’t politically correct to discriminate against so-called ugly people as one is (often) not responsible for one’s appearance. F.e. Socrates and Jean-Paul Sartre were ugly people. The bestselling French author Michel Houellebecq even wrote that our cult of beauty is ultimately fascist.
Following the Christian ideology, all men are equal to god. But with growing individualisation and secularisation beauty and ugliness became increasingly important.

Hässliche Menschen zu diskriminieren ist politisch inkorrekt, da man (meist) nicht für sein Aussehen verantwortlich ist. Socrates und Jean-Paul Sartre waren z.B. hässlich wie auch der Bestsellerautor Michel Houellebecq, der unseren Schönheitskult als letztlich faschistisch bezeichnet.
Die christliche Ideologie sieht alle Menschen als gleich vor Gott an. Aber mit zunehmender Individualisierung und Säkularisierung wurden Schönheit und Hässlichkeit zunehmend wichtiger.

Pigeon-droppings in an abandoned building

Since the age of Romance, we define ugliness as everything that doesn’t follow the current aesthetic norms. It’s seen with fascination as grotesque, inharmonious, bizarre, and decadent. It’s free to be different and following a radically new way. The interest in ugliness became more and more prominent. E.T.A. Hoffmann and Victor Hugo discovered the grotesque and the psychotic as productive forces for literature and art. Since Baudelaire, disease, death, and decomposition became an aesthetic event. Ugliness became celebrated as a rebellion against the norms. This persists until today in the culture of freaks, punks, and most avant-garde cultures. These cultures follow the freedom of self-realisation. Non-conformist art and individuums have the freedom to be ugly, neurotic, and drive controlled. Our modern and post-modern society admires beauty but is fascinated by ugliness. You can see this in the success of model-agencies that are specialised in providing ugly models.

Seit der Romantik bezeichnen wir als hässlich, was nicht ins herrschende ästhetische Normensystem passt. Es fasziniert als grotesk, unharmonisch, bizarr und dekadent. Es drückt die Freiheit aus anders zu sein. E.T.A. Hoffmann und Victor Hugo entdeckten das Groteske und Psychotische als produktive Kräfte in Literatur und der übrigen Kunst. Seit Baudelaire wurden Krankheit, Tod und Verwesung zum ästhetischen Ereignis. Die Hässlichkeit wurde gefeiert als Rebellion gegen die Normen, was noch bis heute in der Kultur der Freaks, Punks und überhaupt der Avantgarde-Kultur anhält. Diese Kulturen folgen dem Selbstausdruck in ihrer Freiheit hässlich, neurotisch und triebgesteuert zu sein. Unsere moderne und post-moderne Gesellschaft bewundert zwar die Schönheit, ist jedoch von der Hässlichkeit fasziniert. Das zeigt u.a. der Erfolg der Modell-Agenturen, die sich auf hässliche Modelle spezialisiert haben.

Dead wasps in water

Kitsch

Kitsch is a special form of ugliness. In a way, it’s the opposite of ugliness. Ugliness in art is often revolutionary, critical, and reflective. It rejects the norms whereas kitsch over-fulfils the norms. It produces what the recipient wants to see and exaggerates it. This leads to sentimentality, garishness, or sweet and melodramatic art. Kitsch smoothes out all roughness and only shows the blameless aspects of an object. It’s typical for mass-produced and lay art that is orientated towards mass taste. It lacks any reflection. According to Walter Benjamin, kitsch is unlike art, an object lacking all critical distance between object and observer. It “offers instantaneous emotional gratification without intellectual effort, without the requirement of distance“.
Similar to kitsch is camp, a term coined by Susan Sonntag under the influence of Walter Benjamin’s reflection about art. Camp shows a tendency to exaggeration, to be popular, and cheap.

Eine spezielle Form der Hässlichkeit ist Kitsch. Im gewissen Sinn ist er das Gegenteil zur Hässlichkeit. Diese ist meistens revolutionär, kritisch und reflektiert. Hässlichkeit lehnt die Normen ab, die der Kitsch übererfüllt. Er erfüllt oft übertrieben das, was der Rezipient erwartet. Das führt zu sentimentaler, schriller, süßlicher oder melodramatischer Kunst. Kitsch glättet alle Ecken und Kanten und zeigt einzig eine idealisierte Seite des Objekts. Er ist typisch für massenproduzierte und Laienkunst, die sich am Massengeschmack ausrichten. Kitsch ist von keiner Reflexion geprägt. Walter Benjamin schreibt, Kitsch unterscheidet sich von Kunst, da er jede kritische Distanz zwischen Objekt und Betrachter entbehrt. Er ist darauf aus, sofortige emotionale Gratifikation ohne jegliche intellektuelle Anstrengung zu geben.
Ähnlich wie Kitsch ist Camp, ein Begriff, den Susan Sonntag unter Einfluss von W. Benjamin prägte. Camp zeigt eine Tendenz zur Übertreibung und ist populistisch und billig.

The Clyffe Cafe in Sheringham, Norfolk

With warm greetings from the cold sea
Mit lieben Grüßen vom kleinen Dorf am großen Meer
The Fab Four of Cley
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

You will find more information about ugliness in art here. You can listen to Klausbernd’s podcast on TTT about ugliness or if you prefer beauty we recommend his podcast about beauty and his blog post about this topic.
Mehr Informationen findet ihr hier zur Hässlichkeit in der Kunst. Klausbernds Podcast über Hässlichkeit findet ihr hier oder wenn ihr die Schönheit vorzieht, findet ihr Klausbernds Podcast zur Schönheit hier und seine Post zur Schönheit hier.

 

© Text and illustrations, Hanne Siebers and Klausbernd Vollmar, Cley next the Sea, 2021

253 thoughts

  1. Fab Four of Cley,
    An unusual, but informative and interesting post. When you said ” But the un-beautiful has its charm too. ” I instantly thought of how many times I’ve looked at something and said, It is so ugly, it’s actually cute.”
    The picture of the junk piled high, we were on the same track too. My favorite expression for such things is : Organized chaos.
    But, I’m sorry Dina, you did not accomplish making Klausbernd ugly. Not in my book. 🤓
    I know you are all staying safe as possible, just as we’re doing here. Continue to take care and enjoy your week! 😉
    GP

    Liked by 11 people

    • Our dear GP Cox,
      thank you very much for your kind comment that is VERY appreciated.
      Yes, we know this too that we think it’s so ugly that it’s cute. On the other hand, you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to produce ugly pictures. There is a deeply ingrained feeling that forces us to make everything beautiful. It’s kind of archetypal.
      If you don’t see our dear Master as ugly in Dina’s pictures then he doesn’t need to be afraid of getting older 😉
      Now we are all vaccinated, actually, everyone in our village. Nevertheless, we are wearing facemasks outside and keep a distance. As we haven’t had any Corona-infections in our area for the last three weeks it seems to work well. Maybe the most effective measure is that outsiders are not allowed in our area. We enjoy this very much, so we can enjoy empty beaches.
      We are wishing you a wonderful week, keep well
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 8 people

    • This is all fantastic news.
      I checked the two hospitals on either side of me and one said that 1 in every 17 has gotten covid. The other hospital didn’t give any statistics, but I would imagine it’s pretty much the same. I haven’t heard of anyone in our community that contracted it.
      My father used to tell me that as I go through life, there are 3 words to think about before I ever say them: Love, Hate & Ugly. I first thought of that when I read your post this morning.
      It was great hearing from you!
      GP

      Liked by 6 people

    • Dear GP
      thank you VERY much. Your father was a wise man. By the way, in German ‘ugly’ is ‘hässlich’ and this goes back to ‘Hass’ that’s hate.
      Here the National Health Service just vaccinated nationwide. They hope that by June everyone in the UK has got at least their first vaccination. Hanne-Dina and I have got then the two necessary shots.
      We keep our fingers crossed that you’ll get your jab soon – Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma are helping with their fairy magic.
      Have a happy and merry week
      Klausbernd 🙂 and
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
      P.S.
      You are GP without Cox from now on? Do we got that right?

      Liked by 5 people

    • Shortened the name so no one felt obligated to use it. 🤓
      Please thank Siri and Selma for their assistance. It makes me smile to know I have those 2 magical beings on my side!!

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Hässlichkeit bzw. Schönheit liegen stets im Auge des Betrachters. Die Schafskopffische z. B. sind alles andere als Schönheiten – in den Augen von uns Menschlein. Bei den Schafskopfweibchen ist es allerdings so, dass die – für uns – hässlichsten Männchen für sie die schönsten sind. 😉 Schafskopfweibchen verwandeln sich übrigens im gesetzten Fischalter in Männchen. Das ist ein faszinierendes Kuriosum der Natur, das sehr zum Phantasieren, Philosophieren und zu Gedankenspielen einlädt, finde ich. 😉
    Liebe Grüße!

    Liked by 7 people

    • Nee, das glauben wir ist zu einseitig, dass die Schönheit bzw. die Hässlichkeit im Auge des Betrachters liegt, eine Ansicht die wohl auf Plato zurückgeht. Was wir als hässlich oder schön betrachten, besitzt viele wesentlichere Faktoren als die subjektive Sicht. Da haben wir z.B. den Zeitgeist, der die Mode bestimmt, bestimmte Ideologien, z.B. dass wir in der Massengesellschaft stets versuchen, die Illusion des Subjektiven zu wahren, und biologische und allgemein ästhetische Faktoren wie Symmetrie, der goldene Schnitt etc.
      Interessant, was du über das Schafskopfweibchen schreibst, das finden wir sehr außergewöhnlich. Allerdings wenn wir hier von schön bzw. hässlich sprechen, ist das eine vermenschlichte Sicht, augenscheinlich ist das für diese Fische anders. Schönheit und Hässlichkeit sind ja Bewertungen, die auf den Menschen bezogen sind.
      Mit lieben Grüßen und herzlichen Dank fürs Kommentieren
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Very interesting! If you had written about beauty it would have been interesting as well, but we would all be saying ‘ah but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ And so I think the same must apply to ugliness…’ugliness is in the eye of tyhe beholder’. I love the photo of Maize, it is beautiful! 🙃🙏

    Liked by 9 people

    • Dear Ashley,
      we just wrote about this in the answer to the comment above. As it’s in German we try to sum it up: We don’t think that the Platonic idea that beauty and ugliness are subjective is valid today. Of course, in our mass societies, we like the illusion of subjectivity. But beauty and ugliness are rather dependent on the zeitgeist that produces fashion, on biological factors and the structure of our perception that prefers symmetry and the golden section (> see our post and podcast about beauty).
      It’s so hard to produce ugly pictures! In the end, they all turn to be nice like the photo of the maize.
      Thank you very much for commenting.
      Have a happy week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks again, Fraggle.

      I wonder if you can help me. You seem to well into WordPress and what’s behind the scene. (We have had two spams only in a month since I followed your tip about ticking the box “all commenters must be registered” – before we used to get 3000-5000 a month! 🙂 )

      I’m still struggling with the new editor. We have a full frame theme for our blog. I find it very annyoying that the opening of the blog text appears as a white muddle on the header image when you klick “home” With the classic editor, it was easy; one could choose “image only”. I have tried to open it with the classic editor to have the text removed, but this alternative is available. I’ll have another go … I must admit, as far as the images are concerned, I miss the easy handling with the classic editor.
      Sending you sunny greetings from coast, Hanne x

      Liked by 7 people

    • I left the block editor and removed the text in the classic editor and it works. I might not have done it properly before – or I was afraid to leave the block editor because it says “if you leave, you’ll lose your settings and formatting”… Still, I’m not able to find this setting for the main post image on the block editor. 🤔

      Liked by 4 people

    • Apologies for my late response, Fraggle. I had a deadline for the Norfolk Coast Guardian and had to ignore the rest.
      I have made a screenshot of the problem. When you go to our site and click home, with all articles closed, it looks like this when I use the block editor:

      What I mean by “muddled” is the fact that the opening of our text appears on the header image for the post. I’ll make another screenshot and show you how much cleaner it looks without the text.

      I’ll be right back! 🙂
      Dina x

      Liked by 2 people

    • It has got nothing to do with our theme (Full Frame). For the main image, the classic editor allows us a variety; like including text, including a quote, or simply post the image without anything else, which is my favorite:

      Do you have any ideas? Your time and help are much appreciated, Fraggle! Dina x

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the link to Diane Arbus, Fraggle. That’s great! I hadn’t thought about her work when I was frantically looking work ugly work by others. You are right; they might not be truly ugly, but even more interesting because they are not presented in an ordinary, beautiful way.
      I have recently studied the uniqe works of Cindy Sherman, also not afraid of not appearing beautiful. Will dive into Diane Arbus now. ❤

      Liked by 5 people

    • Hi Hanne, will this was a bit of a rum job as I can’t replicate the problem, my featured images come up without any text every time! This is all I can think of, try it and see

      Go to “Appearance => Customize => Theme Options => Excerpt Options”
      Type in the Excerpt Length as in, the number of words, and Read More Text, maybe you can just put 0 in for number of words.
      Finally, click on “Save & Publish”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fraggle, I owe you one, thank you so much for your time and effort. 👍🏻🙏🏻🥰🙏🏻

      There’s an easy way out of the problem, I just didn’t find it before. It was a few minutes ago as I took a screenshot to show you that I realized, it actually not about the main image, it is a matter of status and visibility!

      This is how I did it with the classic editor:

      To only have an image without any text on the home page, the same menu is now hidden behind Status und Visibility:

      Ultimately, I have no changed the appearance of all our posts! 🙂
      I hope you had an equally good start to the new week, Fraggle

      🤗🤗🤗🤗😘😘😘😘
      Dina, Klausbernd, Siri and Selma

      Liked by 2 people

  4. GREAT essay, Klausbernd, which I read right after listening to your conversation on this topic with Rebecca Budd that was linked to at the end of your post. 🙂 Really compelling images, too! I wrote on Rebecca’s podcast site:

    “An absolutely riveting, learned conversation with MANY layers, Klausbernd and Rebecca. Thank you! It was so interesting to hear about the origin of the word ‘ugly,’ different perceptions of ‘ugliness’ across time and cultures, and much more.

    “One thing that fascinates me about this topic is thinking about ‘ugly’ people who are beautiful inside, and vice versa. In literature, examples of that include Quasimodo of ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ (mentioned in the podcast) — a really decent sort with a physical disfigurement; and Voldemort in the ‘Harry Potter’ books — very handsome as a youth but already with a deeply evil heart.

    And one of my very favorite authors — George Eliot — was considered to be unattractive-looking, but what a mind and what sympathy she had for her unforgettable characters.”

    Liked by 7 people

    • Good afternoon, dear Dave,
      it’s very interesting to think about this contradiction of inside and outside. We quoted Michel Houellebecq, a very clever French intellectual who looks quite ugly too. I suppose ugliness quite often attracts beauty, opposites attract each other – a kind of law of wholeness. Like Voldemort, the devil was often seen as the beautiful seducer. In a lot of productions of Goethe’s “Faust” Mephistopheles, the devil was staged as very handsome. This goes back to the Christian ideology which was always hostile to the body and therefore the beautiful body had to be evil – and even more reprehensible the beautiful is sexy.
      Thank you very much, dear Dave, for your inspiring comment.
      Wishing you a wonderful week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

  5. Interesting! What a challenging quality to define, and so often, what seems an instantly recognizable and indisputable dichotomy to one person, isn’t at all to the rest of us. The pictures of cornstalks and wasps aren’t beautiful to me, for example, but neither are they ugly, and I suppose even rusting piles of metal junk might gladden the heart of a scrap dealer.
    Also challenging to produce art that can use ugliness to really fascinate and involve us. I’ve appreciated a still life with decaying fruit, etc. as part of a momento mori scene, but so many art installations in our time seem desperate, even pathetic, in their attempts to invoke ugliness, employing rotting meat, excrement, mutilated bodies, desecrated icons, etc. but if their purpose is to shock, to stimulate, to make us question our definition of art, etc. then they fail, and really only produce kitsch or camp, as you say, like a visit to a carnival haunted house. Most of these formulaic little rebellions may stimulate a brief feeling of revulsion, and often certainly irritation, but otherwise…we yawn, perhaps feel a moment’s curiosity about the artist’s obsessiveness or psychological state, but nothing deeper.
    But the topic really is fascinating, and I look forward to listening to your podcast this evening!

    Liked by 6 people

    • Dear Robert, good afternoon,
      ugliness in art is quite often provoking – provoking in a way that makes us stop and think. On the other hand, pictures of ugly people f.e. are so often presented that they don’t provoke any more. Everything that gets presented often loses its power after a while, it doesn’t matter if it is beautiful or ugly. To make the onlooker stop you need quite a dose of ugliness today. But I think that’s the only way not to lull people into not really looking. We noticed that it needs a certain kind of shock that makes us look at a picture a bit longer to really see it. With the picture-pollution on the net, we usually don’t bother to look at pictures. If ugliness becomes the norm then it will suffer the same fate as beauty, nobody will look at it anymore. Therefore the ugliness has to become more and more ugly to provoke and to be seen. Ugliness makes us talk about art (as here) – mostly in a controversial way. And that what is art about to make us think and talk about it.
      Besides this, we noticed how hard it is to produce something really ugly that’s provoking. It needs a lot of skills of the artist.
      Thank you for your inspiring comment.
      Have a happy week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

  6. Very urgent matter, dear Klaus. Indeed, our society creates so much ado about the aspect that forgets about ugliness of its own Soul. At present the last one is becoming more & more obvious. 🙂

    Best wishes from frosty Moscow (-20 C° outside).
    Maria 😊❄❄❄

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thank you very much, dear Maria,
      I suppose we need ugliness as well as beauty, both belong to wholeness and therefore ugliness attracts beauty and vice versa. But we live in a society in which we tend to suppress its shadow sides. It’s not either-or or black or white it’s always both like Nils Bohr was convinced that truth is only true if it’s opposite true as well.
      We have spring here, nearly plus 20 C outside 🌞🌸🌼🌻🌺🌷🌞
      Wishing you a great week. Keep warm!
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  7. Hmmm…..you have gone quite far from the norm with this one Fab Four! As always, very interesting and thought provoking. I must admit I didn’t find your images “ugly”, rather I thought them interesting with elements of color and form. Rather I find ugliness more in reference to actions. For example, when we were in South Africa there was an image of a policeman who had been placed in the center of 5 or 6 tires laid on top of each other. The tires were then set on fire. This was at the height of Apartheid and the horror of it has stayed with me for many years. Both the specific example and the entire idea of any systemic mis-treatment of one race over another (which of course exists in many places even today) is to me the best example of ugliness I can imagine.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Dear Tina,
      ugliness is a topic that’s really hard to write about.
      You mention the ugliness in the field of morals. We have to admit, we never thought about it. But thanks for mentioning it. We reflected more ugliness of objects and people. Maybe that’s a matter of language. In German in the field of morals, you wouldn’t talk of ugliness (Hässlichkeit) but use the word reprehensible (verwerflich). In classic standard German you use ugliness only for aesthetic judgements. We were never aware of this difference between English and German. Thanks for making us aware of it and think about it.
      Wishing you a happy week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Tina,
      since my times as a student, I was always interested in semiotics. But one has to be extremely good in both languages to see (or to feel?) the subtle differences.
      But we will think about it.
      Thank you
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  8. Thank you, dear friends, and especially you Hanne, for giving me such a good laugh this morning! Seeing Klausbernd as an old man with a happy, angry and quizzical look made my day. 😂

    Your topic is most interesting. If ugly is the new beauty, what is then ugly?
    What does it take to classify something as ugly today? I think Tina Schell (above) nails it, it’s something dark and cruel on the inside, a political statement like you mentions as well?

    I’ll pop over to Rebecca and listen to your podcast now. Talk to you later!

    Kram
    Annalena Xx

    Liked by 6 people

    • Dear Annalena,
      as we answered to Tina (above): For us ugly is an aesthetical judgement rather than a moral one. That we see it like this has probably to do with the German language. How is that in Swedish? Can you use ‘ugly’ as a moral judgement? Anyway, funny to see our dear Master as an old man.
      Have fun listening to the podcast about ugliness 🙂
      KRAM 🤗
      ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

    • Liebe Uschi,
      die Grenze zwischen interessant und hässlich ist ja äußerst fließend, beides überschneidet sich.
      Habe Dank fürs Kommentieren.
      Grüße von uns allen
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What we think of as beautiful or ‘ugly’ is solely up to the individual in the end.
    After all it is a personal decision of worth and value.
    For some people something is valueless if it has no meaning or is directionless.
    Of course, there are those who will always find heart and meaning in something.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Eddie,
      sorry, but I disagree, the judgement of ‘ugly’ and ‘beautiful’ is rather not individual. Of course, in our mass society, we love to maintain the illusion of individuality. Our judgement of ugliness or beauty is mostly dependent on the zeitgeist producing certain fashions, on the structure of our perception (symmetry etc.) and the ideology of the group we belong to. Media are influencing us more and more in our (aesthetical and moral) judgements. People who believe that they aren’t influenced by these factors are usually highly influenced by them.
      In our society that praises achievement having neither meaning nor direction is without value. Well, it just came into my mind “Stop Making Sense” by the Talking Heads. That’s revolutionary in our society.
      Thanks for commenting.
      Keep well
      Klausbernd
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t currently belong to any particular group nor have I ever been. I have always been a loner. Believe it or not I live with my wife and see very few people. I am mostly active online, with a large group indeed. However, I try not to hold an opinion about any matter and remain open and free. Death, and near death experiences have changed much of the way I think about life and living.
      Bless your heart dear friends.
      I greatly appreciate your questioning my reasoning as you should. love Eddie

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s revealing that the German word for ‘ugly’ is hässlich, literally ‘hateful.’

    You note that “signs of disease are seen as ugly in all cultures.” Why, then, continue by singling out European culture, unless because it’s the culture you know best?

    “Ugliness became celebrated as a rebellion against the norms. This persists until today in the culture of freaks, punks, and most avant-garde cultures. These cultures follow the freedom of self-realisation.” It has always struck me as ironic that such people merely create a new model that they then slavishly conform to just as much as the people they’re rebelling against valued beauty.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hi, Steve,
      the European culture was the most powerful and therefore defining the norms. Power means always the power of the language and especially of semiotics.
      Every new model becomes an old one over the years. We need a permanent revolution or rebellion. Nevertheless, every new model provides a basis for the next new models. Hegel wrote about it in his philosophy of history and Marx interpreted it in a materialistic way. Without the culture of freaks, punks etc. we wouldn’t go on developing. Rebellion is absolutely necessary for development, we suppose.
      Thanks and cheers
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  11. I remember, dear Klausbernd and Dina, that we already spoke about ugliness a few years ago and that I wrote a post “What is ugliness” about it mentioning your blog! I must say that I really consider it highly important to look again at what ugliness means to me now, respecting the various categories and with the help of your gorgeous post and whether I have changed my opinion in this respect!
    One of the questions I had then in respect to the book “Amalia’s Tale” by David I. Kertzer goes as follows:

    With whom is ugliness if, like in the case of Amalia, Domenica and many others, doctors and authorities try to hide the truth and without much hesitation sacrifice other people’s lives?

    I can see that I haven’t changed my opinion in this respect, on the contrary I feel more and more disturbed by authorities, companies, doctor or whoever by whom I feel manipulated or abused and I therefore describe as ugly!

    Liked by 6 people

    • Dear Martina,
      thank you very much for your comment and for reminding the readers of our old discussion about this topic.
      The ones having the power define our judgements. Semiotics is a tool of ruling, it is and was always an expression of ideology (L. Althusser).
      Of course, one could ask the question if one can speak without manipulating. This leads us deep into the philosophy of language, Wittgenstein and Cassirer …
      We have to live with it and accept that there exists no ‘real truth’ as there exists no real ugliness.
      Wishing you a wonderful week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

    • P.S.
      Dear Martina,
      I studied semantics with a book by Umberto Eco and visiting a lot of seminars, nevertheless, I find it still a challenge. But I am very much interested in it. Well, how gets a word its meaning? To think about it and using the etymological dictionaries is detective work and fun.
      All the best
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

    • This seems to be highly interesting, dear Klausbernd, I will really try to find out more about semantics or the origin of ugly!
      It seems to me also that becoming aware that something seems ugly gives me the possibility to change behaviour or procedure!
      Lots of thanks for your inspiring words and images:)
      All the best to you and your dear team!:):):):)

      Liked by 3 people

    • Liebe Martina,
      das deutsche ‘hässlich’ ist natürlich dem Substantiv ‘Hass’ verbunden, es geht auf das mhd. hezzelich zurück.
      Liebe Grüße
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much, dear Mike.
      It’s always a matter of perspective how we judge, isn’t it? And as older we are getting as more perspective we can take on. Besides, these perspectives change with the zeitgeist and with our ideologies.
      Wishing you a wonderful week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  12. Vielen Dank für deine spannenden Gedanken, Klausbernd, und Dinas tolle Fotos dazu! Neben anderem bewundere ich auch deinen persönlichen Mut – und drücke fest die Daumen (und bin überzeugt), dass es später mal Alternative 2 sein wird. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Gerne geschehen, liebe Maren 🙂
      Ich hoffe auch auf Alternative 2 😉 und zwar sehr!
      Danke, dass dir Dinas Fotografien gut gefallen. Ich kann dir sagen, damit haben wir echt gerungen. Dina ist in einem Fotoklub, die veranstalten gerade einen Fotowettbewerb zum Thema Wasser, da nahm Dina Krokusse auf mit Wassertröpfchen. Schade, dass da unsere Post schon fertig war, da wären die idealen Kitschbilder gewesen. Ich glaube, es ist schwer, Kitsch zu erzeugen. Kitsch ergibt sich, wenn man nicht so ganz bei Sinnen ist oder zu sehr technikverliebt.
      Mit lieben Grüßen vom frühlingshaften Meer von uns allen
      Wishing you a wonderful week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I enjoyed the discussion of ugliness. The eye of the beholder phrase was created to explain the phenomenon of perceived beauty or ugliness. It seems that some can live unaffected by what others would consider ugly surroundings. Some others can live in surroundings that are considered beautiful and be untouched by what they see. It is hard, therefore, to be pedantic about what we call ugly or beautiful. Thanks, Kausbernd and Dina. No, the portraits were not ugly. Blighted corn is ugly. (My apologies to the blight in the world)

    Liked by 6 people

    • Thank you, dear John,
      to write about ugliness and beauty we are maybe the wrong folks as we all four of us are aestheticists who love an ordered minimalism. There are surroundings we couldn’t live in, we would run away, whereas others don’t mind. I see your point. We tend to be pedantic in our judgement of what is beautiful and what is ugly. It’s quite hard to become aware of this learned behaviour and then to overcome it. Thanks a lot for making us see our limitations. Ugliness has in one way or the other much to do with becoming aware of one’s limitation. At least this was our experience thinking and writing about it.
      Wishing you a happy week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Klausbernd for your thoughtful response. I am like you and do not feel comfortable in the presence of what I would consider unordered clutter. I don’t blame you at all for running away from such a scene.Personal preference is just that, personal. Where some mock the disorder is where I have a problem. 😀 Thanks, Again.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. Fascinating and powerful topic with interesting discussion, research, and engaging photographs. The first two really engaged me. The plastic buckets stacked everywhere reminded me of my late father–a carpenter and painter. When he passed, we cleaned out stacks and stacks of those square bins (ice cream came in them) and the larger round paint buckets. What came to mind was wondering–did a painter live here, or just my mom who ate the ice cream for all those bins? In the second, there are items that catch my eye, wanting to rescue them for use–the iron frame, the green door, the tea kettle, the wooden shelf that looks like part of a mantle. I see those individual things as beautiful, and then think about how they contribute to the collage that is the total photograph with its juxtaposition of squares and rectangles and curves and textures and colors. Grandpa’s old blue car, against a wooden and tin fence, stacked to the brim, and yet with an order that created a different style of organization. At first, the dead wasps make me want to shrink back, but when I study them, I see the water shapes around them, their own bends and curves, reflections of shadows on the bottom of the pan that invite me to look deeper and further into the content and context, not just the surface. Thank you both for this intriguing reflection.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thank you so much for your comment 🙏 🙏
      We can tell it was so hard to produce ugly pictures. In a way, we think now that a picture happens to be ugly but to plan producing an ugly picture is great art.
      We like your memories of your late father. We don’t know who lives in this house of Dina’s picture. We didn’t meet a person there.
      We don’t think that these pictures we presented are really ugly. As we said, it’s high art to produce ugly pictures in contrast to beautiful picture.
      Great comment, we really like!
      Wishing you a wonderful week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  15. What we perceive as ugly is influenced by so many of our learned ideas of what is unacceptable or to be shunned. I can see the dilemma you had of trying to decide what is really ugly or what is only perceived to be ugly because of our cultural teachings. They say “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” and so I think it is with ugliness to – “It’s in the eyes of the beholder.”

    Liked by 8 people

    • Dear Anneli,
      there exist no ugliness per se. But ugliness is not as subjective as people tend to think. It’s a mixture of what’s in the eyes of the beholder but more so a function of the zeitgeist producing fashon, biological functions and the laws of perception as symmetry and golden section etc. The personal ideology plays a role as well. As better one understands this as more it is meaningful to speak of ugliness or beauty and if we don’t reflect this this ugliness or beauty are meaningless.
      Thanks for commenting.
      All the best. Wishing you a wonderful week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  16. Reading the comments was as enlightening and thought-provoking as the post. 🙂 One of the things I find interesting about meeting people online or through blogging is that often I have no idea how they look but my idea of how they might look is based on how their inner selves are revealed online. That means in my mind, all the people I like/respect are “good-looking”, whatever that means. I don’t really have a preconceived idea of their actual physical looks, just that their outer selves will reflect or mimic their inner selves. I don’t feel this in reverse; the people who act ugly online don’t see as though they would look ugly, but their words and actions seem to keep me from even thinking about how they might look.

    What’s beautiful and what’s ugly or unattractive is certainly not universal and often changes with time. I look at many styles and even “art” and just shake my head. 🙂 Keeps life interesting, doesn’t it?

    janet

    Liked by 6 people

    • Dear Janet,
      you made us aware of reacting like you. We imagine an attractive picture of a blogger who writes in a way we like. But we have to admit, we picture persons as ugly when they express ideas we don’t like or even hate. But historically this is wrong as the devil was often pictured as a handsome seducer which goes back to the Christian ideology who has problems with the body and more so with sex.
      Answering the comments we learn quite a lot about the topic we wrote about. Especially our dear Master loves to answer the comments. But sometimes he has think about his answer for quite a while. But thinking is life – cogito ergo sum – and fun.
      Thank you very much for your inspiring comment
      Wishing you a wonderful week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  17. What a great treatment of UGLINESS! Except I think that Cafe is a beauty. Also some of the greatest Character Portraits would be considered Ugly by today’s beauty Standards. I think that all those Ugly shots of you actually portray interesting facets of your age and personality.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Dear Michael,
      Hanne-Dina would absolutely agree that Cafe is beauty. The border between ugly and interesting is very unclear as ugliness is quite often interesting.
      Thanks for commenting.
      Wishing you a happy week
      it’s very interesting to think about this contradiction of inside and outside. We quoted Michel Houellebecq, a very clever French intellectual who looks quite ugly too. I suppose ugliness quite often attracts beauty, opposites attract each other – a kind of law of wholeness. Like Voldemort, the devil was often seen as the beautiful seducer. In a lot of productions of Goethe’s “Faust” Mephistopheles, the devil was staged as very handsome. This goes back to the Christian ideology which was always hostile to the body and therefore the beautiful body had to be evil – and even more reprehensible the beautiful is sexy.
      Thank you very much, dear Dave, for your inspiring comment.
      Wishing you a wonderful week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  18. Dear Klausbernd, Thank you for sharing your insights on TTT. You have added an invaluable perspective in how to use the idea of ugliness in my exploration of art, literature, societal structure and philosophy. Going forward, I will seek understanding over criticism, reflection over rejection, openness over close-mindedness. This year I will read books that I have previously cast aside, view art that I didn’t understand and accept ugliness as essential to the human experience. I am honoured that you joined me on TTT. Your generosity and compassion add light and hope in a world of complexity. Much love and many hugs coming to my dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Ein wahrhaft faszinierendes Thema. Ob es in der Tier- und Pflanzenwelt auch so etwas wie einen Gegensatz zwischen schön und häßlich gibt? Hyänen werden oft als häßlich bezeichnet (von uns Menschen), sollen aber liebevoll familienorientierte, sich selbst aufopfernde Tiere sein. Ist es da nicht unfair, sie als häßlich zu sehen? Vielleicht könnten schön und häßlich in einem weiteren Kontext von Wertorientierung zu sehen sein? In der Diskussion hier ist Umberto Eco genannt worden. Es gibt von ihm zum Thema einen interessanten Beitrag: https://lithub.com/umberto-eco-on-the-elusive-concept-of-ugliness/. Kennt die Natur das häßliche Entlein? Im Märchen ist das Häßliche das Ausgesonderte, das Schöne das vorderhand Erfolgreiche. Und der häßlich kalte nasse Frosch, der sich als Prinz entpuppt … da ist allerhand im Häßlichen verborgen – das Häßliche als eine Maske, hinter der sich eine andere Form der Schönheit verbirgt?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Habe gaaanz herzlichen Dank für deinen inspirierenden Kommentar. Was für eine tolle Idee, das Hässliche als eine Maske zu sehen, hinter der sich eine andere Form der Schönheit verbirgt. Siri 🙂 und 🙂 Selma haben deinen Satz sogleich in ihre Feenbüchlein der brillanten Ideen eingetragen.
      Übrigens sind wir auch von Umberto Eco begeistert. Unser lieber Master studierte Ecos Lehrbuch über Semantik während seines Studiums und las seitdem alle seine Bücher, auch jene so anschaulich bebilderten über Hässlichkeit und Schönheit.
      Wir glauben, dass solche wertende Begrifflichkeit wie ‘schön’ und ‘hässlich’ nur inbezug auf den menschlichen Bereich Sinn macht. Außerhalb dieses Bereichs scheint uns diese Begrifflichkeit ungültig – es sei denn man würde sie funktional verstehen. Dann wäre schön, was dem Überleben und der Vermehrung dient. Im Grunde schwingt dieses auch bei der Beurteilung von Personen mit, bei der schön und erotisch sich überschneiden.
      Nochmals vielen Dank für deinen klugen Kommentar, der viel zum Nachdenken liefert.
      Mit herzlichen Grüßen
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Dear Rebecca, dear Klausbernd, and dear Don in the background ❤️

    What an inspiring conversation! I must confess, I have learned so much in a very short time following the conversations about ugliness here and on our blog that I have to express a huge thank you to all three of you. It’s mindblowing! Last Sunday I purposely went out and to capture ugliness for our co-post. What a disaster, I failed from beginning to the end. Looking back, could it be that I followed the wrong approach and subsequently didn’t get the ugliness I was hoping for?

    What is the purpose of a photograph?
    Oh dear, this is equally difficult to define as what is the purpose of a text?
    Surely it should thrive be a record of … what?
    Hmm, a unique situation, a unique point of view?
    Or rather, the illusion we call reality?

    And, ideally, should this record, this illusion, the point of view, trigger some reflection, some sort of emotion – good or bad, because if there’s no reflection, no emotion elicited in the audience, then the image has no impact at all – and thus won’t be remembered??
    Taking this one step further, does it matter if the emotion is positive or negative, like good and bad or beautiful and ugly?

    Thinking about my seals; I would never even think about capturing a mammal the way I captured the pile of shit in the abandoned farmhouse.

    What is ugliness if it’s the new beauty?

    I feel exhausted now, have to sleep it over and then it hopefully comes to me.
    Klausbernd says; we always look for answers.
    Yet, it’s more important to ask the right questions. This takes the burden off my shoulders. 😉

    Good night to you in Vancouver, big hugs and lots of love coming across the pond. Love you all!
    Dina-Hanne x

    Liked by 4 people

    • Liebe Dina,
      ja, was ist der Sinn der Bilder- und Textproduktion? Wir gehen jetzt einmal davon aus, dass es überhaupt einen Sinn macht, Bilder und Texte zu produzieren. Natürlich kann man das in Frage stellen, aber das wäre uns zu defätistisch, obwohl bei der Betrachtung sozialer Medien kann einem leicht der Zweifel befallen, dass hier stümperhafte Sinnlosigkeit zelebriert wird. Aber gehen wir einmal davon aus, dass Text und Bild zu produzieren Sinn macht. So scheint für mich ein Sinn darin zu liegen, dass ein Mehr erzeugt wird, d.h. man sieht bzw. versteht mehr, nach der Rezeption von Text oder Bild oder auch anders. Unser gewöhnliches Scheuklappendenken wird erweitert. So glaube ich auch, dass es hilft, wenn Bild und Text eine Aussagen haben. Die Aussage schafft den Sinn. Wenn Bild oder Text rein affirmativ sind, scheinen sie sich dem Kitsch und somit der Hässlichkeit anzunähren, sind sie kritisch, schaffen sie eine kritische Distanz beim Beobachter, scheinen sie mir berechtigt und sinnvoll zu sein. So fragen wir uns, gibt es eine Berechtigung von Bild und Text jenseits der Provokation? Das sind natürlich aufklärerische Ideen, die stets aufs Lernen aus sind. Ich halte nichts von den den neo-romantischen Ideen, die auf die emotionale Berührung aus sind, wie der Hollywood-Film. Dieses Einlullen des Rezipienten scheint mir hochgradig reaktionär zu sein.
      Das fällt mir spontan zu deiner Frage ein.
      Mit ❤ ❤ ❤ lieben Grüßen xxx vom Schreibtisch nebenan
      Klausbernd 😘

      Liked by 2 people

    • And now in English – oh dear …

      Dear Hanne-Dina,
      what’s the purpose of photography or writing a text? I assume that it makes sense to produce pictures or texts. Of course, one can question this but this would be too defeatist for me although looking at social media could easily make one think that here bumbling senselessness is celebrated. But I start by assuming to produce pictures and texts make sense. For me, the sense is to be found that it produces a surplus, a ‘more’. It makes you see and understand more. Our usual limited way of thinking will be widened. So I suppose it necessary that the picture and text have to transport a message. Without messaging no sense. If pictures and texts are just affirmative they tend to be kitsch that means they are ugly. If they are critical, if they create a critical distance then they make sense. So I ask myself does it make sense to produce picture and text without provocation. These are ideas of the Enlightenment which is always keen to make people learn. I think nothing of the neo-romantic ideas which want to touch the receivers emotionally like in Hollywood-films. This lulling of the recipients tends to be reactionary.
      These are my spontaneous ideas after having read your important questions.
      Love 🥰
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  21. Interessant finde ich zunächst, dass ich kein Porträtfoto von dir als hässlich empfinde, trotz der Verschiebungen und Verfremdungen. Aber das luegt vielleicht auch daran, dass ich überhaupt selten einen Menschen hässlich finde. Müll und Schrott speziell achtlos in der hingegen

    Liked by 4 people

    • (herrjeh das kommt von der Handytipperei, sorry) also … achtlos in die Natur geworfen finde ich hässlich, es gibt viel hässliche Architektur, selbst Kitsch kann ich hässlich finden (je nachdem). Ich glaube schon, dass der subjektive Blick ausschlaggebend ist, allerdings ist er von Zeit und Moden beeinflusst. Ich schließe aber nicht aus, dass man eine Chance hat dich von derlei Diktaten zu befreien.
      Danke für diesen anregenden Beitrag.
      Ich grüße euch fab four herzlich,
      Ulli

      Liked by 2 people

    • Liebe Ulli,
      eine gute Frage, die du stellst, kann man ‘hässlich’ auf Menschen anwenden. Natürlich ist es nicht politisch korrekt, aber ursprünglich (etymologisch) kommt die Begrifflichkeit daher. Hässlich kommt von Hass und wurde zuerst in mittelhochdeutscher Zeit auf Menschen, immer Außenseiter, angewandt. Zuerst auf Kranke, später auch auf andere, die nicht angepasst waren.
      Allerdings ändert sich ja die Bedeutung eines Wortfeldes über die Zeit, Semantik ist nicht starr. So glauben wir, dass in deinem Sinn über die Zeit das Adjektiv hässlich immer weniger auf Menschen angewandt wird.
      Mit lieben Grüßen vom frühlingshaften Meer
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lieber Klausbernd, ich habe nochmal nachgedacht. Als ich damals in Berlin Antifaarbeit gemacht habe, fand ich viele Skinheads hässlich. Das, was sie vertreten ist mehr als hässlich. Hier vermischt sich also die Ideologie und die Menschen in meiner Wahrnehmung.
      Herzliche Grüße aus dem maienhaften Wiesental,
      Ulli 🌞🌺

      Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Ulli,
      ich kann das bei mir auch beobachten, dass meine Ideologie meine Wahrnehmung maßgeblich beeinflusst. Ich glaube, dass man das schlecht ändern kann – und warum auch -, aber mir scheint es wichtig sich dessen bewusst zu sein.
      Liebe Grüße und danke
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. There is much to think about here. I usually think of ugliness not as something physical but in human behavior. The rioters who stormed the Capitol building in Washington. That to me was ugliness. What happened to the Rohinga in Myanmar. That was ugliness.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Dear Anne,
      originally ugly (hässlich, styg) in the Germanic languages was used for the appearance of people. To use it for behaviour came later, after the late middle ages.
      We would agree to call the rioters stormed the Capitol ugly.
      My feeling of language is of course highly influenced by my mother tongue. I would not use the word ‘hässlich’ (ugly) to describe what happened to the Rohinga in Myanmar. I would call it cruel. Hässlich (ugly) would play it down in German. This shows how hard the business of translation is. Hässlich is ugly but both words have a slightly different semantic field.
      Thank you very much for commenting.
      All the best
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for this info. I think English is a language of business and sometimes misses the nuances you have mentioned. I would agree that cruel is the word for the treatment of the Rohinga. The Canadian Inuit have several different words for snow. And why not? it is so much a part of their lives and snow can be very different depending on temperature, humidity etc.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Anne,
      I noticed that the German language knows more nuances expressing philosophical and aesthetical concept than the English language. But English is more economical. To express the same content you need fewer words in English than in German.
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • What do you think about:
      Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän
      That’s the longest German word I know.
      Translation:
      the captain of the Danube steamboat corporation. Well, that’s correct grammar but you wouldn’t use it in normal language. We loved such words when we were kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Dear Fab Four, thank you for this fascinating and thought-provoking post. It certainly has made me question my views on beauty and ugliness. I am afraid I have nothing to add to the conversation except to say that sometimes, people’s faces that are considered perfect and beautiful can often make one feel uneasy. The beauty is too perfect and becomes sinister and sometimes ugly or frightening. A face with imperfections can seem more beautiful and lovable. There are some styles of architecture that I find unappealing and often ugly. Many of our cities in the UK have buildings that have been constructed without care or thought especially those built in the 1970’s. I always find Dina’s photographs beautiful even if the subject matter is not. I can imagine how difficult it must have been trying to take ugly photographs!
    I hope you are all keeping well and safe on the North Norfolk coast.
    best wishes, Clare 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    • Good afternoon, dear Clare,
      we absolutely agree beauty needs some ugliness so to speak. 100% of beauty is ugly and kitsch. Interesting, isn’t it? The Japanese language even has a word for it: wabi-sabi.
      You are absolutely right, a lot of buildings in British cities are ugly as ugly can be.
      We tried to choose with Dina so-called ugly pictures. We weren’t aware of it before, this was quite a challenge.
      Thanks for commenting.
      Keep well
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  24. Klausbernd and Dina, oh goodness what an interesting conversation going on here, it’s so lively. Well it’s been said so much about your subject by now, that I won’t go into detail of the many interesting comments. In my perspective there is no ugly person at all, it comes from judgment we have learned through how we were brought up and how the society judges about beauty or non beauty. Looking in the eyes of someone who doesn’t look like “the perfect person” I see the inner beauty of that soul. The place where I sense ugliness are words and there I can get judgmental. Klausbernd thank you for explaining the meaning of the word ” haesslich” in German, I didn’t know it comes from Hass, so that makes total sense. Thank you handsome Klausbernd for this most interesting post. Stay safe and happy. Cornelia from the other side of he globe.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Cornelia,
      there was always a discussion if such judgements like ugly are learned or based on basic instincts. The biologists see it as basic instincts as this judgement regulates the choice of partners and the chance of how many partners you can attract. Whereas we rather think it is learned by socialisation. Like always it’s both we suppose but in our society, with the dominance of media, the learning/socialisation aspect is overdeterminating. Since the high middle ages, ugly were the outies. It started with the ill people and later on, it was used for everyone who didn’t fit. But semantic fields are changing. Nowadays, ugly means interesting. You can see this in literature and film as in photography.
      Thanks for your compliment 🙂 🙂
      Greetings from far away England
      Klausbernd
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  25. “Eine spezielle Form der Hässlichkeit ist Kitsch.”

    Bei dem Satz musste ich sofort an den Barock und noch mehr ans Rokoko denken. Wenn ich entsprechende Gebäude, vorrangig Kirchen, sehe, schaudert es mich regelgerecht.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Very interesting post well illustrated. Don’t you think though, that in the very busy, stressful world, we live in today, there is need for a sort of shorthand to describe things and big ideas like ugliness, beauty, hatred, love, etc.? Some things need to be considered universals so that we can speak together with some understanding, but underneath it all we make individual allowances for these shrthand words.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Mari,
      sorry, but we don’t think we need a sort of shorthand in our society. Shorthand leads to populistic black and white thinking. At least the speakers have to be aware of the words and concepts they are using. To find the shortest expression is the logic of the internet. Short instead of differentiated. We have to dare to think again and go beyond the easy solutions. And we have to learn to communicate on a differentiated level again. The easy and short expression is usually wrong.
      Thanks for commenting.
      Keep well
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  27. „Dich will ich loben Hässliches, du hast sowas Verlässliches…“ Das ist der Anfang eines Gedichts von Robert Gernhardt. Und es stimmt immer wieder. Auch in dem Teil von Berlin, in dem ich wohne, kann ich mich darauf verlassen, dass ich etwas Hässliches sehe, wenn ich auf die Straße trete. Eure Bilder finde ich dagegen sehr strukturiert. Der Ekel wird durch den künstlerischen Blick gebannt. Mutig, dieses Sujet aufzugreifen.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Danke für deinen Kommentar 🙏 🙏 und für das feine Zitat, das mir gut gefällt. Der folgende Text ist eine Antwort auf eine Reaktion auf meinen Podcast über das Hässliche:
      It has been fun and was hard at the time to think about ugliness. With most of the topics, you have forerunners you can refer to either affirmative or criticising. But here I had to think without very few authorities I could refer to. I couldn’t stand on the shoulders of great thinkers. Actually, this was quite emancipating to be free from any father-authorities. There has been hardly any topic before that had such a therapeutic effect on me. I wasn’t aware of it in the beginning but I noticed an inner resistance. As more, I reflected on what I was doing contemplating ugliness as more I became aware of how this affected me. And I suppose that’s what ugliness does if we let ourselves in to contemplate ugliness.
      Soweit den Mut betreffend.
      Alles Gute von einem kleinen Dorf am Meer nach Berlin
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  28. Your pairing of beauty and ugliness, and in fact your description of ugliness as ‘the shadow side of beauty’ seems perfect to me. As I was reading, I was thinking of how light and shadow are related in much the same way as beauty and ugliness. Both are needed for the world to be revealed in all its complexity. I smiled, too, at this: ” For us ugly is an aesthetical judgement rather than a moral one.” When I moved to Texas, one of the first ‘country’ admonitions I learned was “Don’t be ugly.” It’s something that’s said to a whiny child, or a gossipy woman. It certainly implies that there’s ugly behavior and beautiful behavior: a move toward the moral, I think.

    This was such an engaging post, with such interesting comments. Thank you!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you very much, dear Linda 🙏 🙏
      the semantic field of ugly has changed over the years since the late middle ages. But there is quite a difference between different languages as well, f.e. to use ugly (hässlich) for behaviour would be quite unusual, my editor would have changed this. Ugly is rather used for objects in modern standard German.
      Thank you very much for commenting.
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  29. It is so interesting that you posted this. People often tell me, you are lucky, you find such beautiful places, or subjects. I try and say beauty is everywhere, it depends where you look, and how you see. Every single one of these images are beautiful. It is the fault your photographer, she finds ugly, and creates complicated beauty. Beauty doesn’t need to look good. It needs to be real. Kudos to the two, or four of you. Stay safe and well.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks a lot, dear Cindy,
      beauty can be found everywhere. It depends on your system of comparisons if you judge something or someone as beautiful or ugly. If you see it from the perspective of art then the so called ugliness is unusual. It’s what the receiver doesn’t expect. It’s what makes an object interesting. Beauty is boring mediocrity, ugliness is intellectual avant-garde.
      All the best
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Cindy, the text came first. Then we had to think about how to illustrate the essay and frame it with images. A true challenge! You’re right, beauty is everywhere, the ugly is harder to find. Have you ever captured the true essence of ugliness?
      Sunny greetings from the coast, Dina x

      Liked by 2 people

  30. Danke für euren Überblick zur Häßlichkeit, Hanne und Klausbernd.
    Sehr mutig, Klausbernd, dein Foto so von Hanne verändern zu lassen. Aber ist der Alterungsprozeß mit Häßlichkeit gleichzusetzen? Ich empfinde das nicht so. Ich sehe in dem alternden Gesicht meines Vaters Ruhe und Weisheit.
    Ästhetisch finde ich Schrottplatz und auch die verblühten Gräser sehr ansprechend.
    Bei uns scheint die Sonne und ich habe den Balkon im Wedding geputzt. Nun werde ich in meinen Büchern wühlen, um Werke zum Werk für meine Dissertation herauszusuchen.
    Einen schönen sonnigen Tag von Susanne

    Liked by 3 people

    • Liebe Susanne,
      ursprünglich und aus biologischen Gesichtspunkt gesehen, verringert der Alterungsprozess den Schönheitsgrad. Wenn man biologistisch und funktional Schönheit bzw. Hässlichkeit definiert, was ja ursprünglich der Fall war, dann verringert Alter insofern die Schönheit, da es Attraktivität herabsetzt oder anders ausgedrückt, es zieht weniger Partner zur Fortpflanzung an. Wenn wir jedoch Hässlichkeit bzw. Schönheit nicht funktional definieren, dann spielt der Arterhaltungseffekt keine Rolle. Da wir eh uns zu sehr fortpflanzen, ist so gesehen Hässlichkeit sogar als revolutionär und umweltbewusst anzusehen.
      Ich kann darüber stundenlang mit Hanne-Dina streiten, ob, wenn man Hässliches darstellen will, der Stil auch hässlich im Sinne von nicht-perfekt sein muss. Müssen Stil und Inhalt sich entsprechen? Eco produzierte ein wunderschönes Buch über die Hässlichkeit, ist das letztlich dem Thema unangemessen. Charles Bokowski schrieb sozusagen hässlich über die Hässlichkeit, ist das angemessener?
      Wie dem auch sei. Hier ist auch der Frühling ausgebrochen, die Krokusse und Osterglocken blühen allerorten, und es ist richtig warm.
      Das ist kein Tag zum drinnen Arbeiten heute. Deswegen mache ich jetzt Schluss und wünsche einen höchst angenehmen Tag dir
      Klausbernd
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lieber Klausbernd,
      ja, ich denke so wird der Alterungsprozeß gesehen, von der Natur her so eingerichtet, um den abgeschlossenen Fortpflanzungsprozeß auch äußerlich zu zeigen. Da die Menschheit immer älter wird, ändert sich hier natürlich auch das Schönneitsideal, alt ist nicht mehr häßlich, du kannst es gut in der Werbung verfolgen. Die Alten gehören zum “neuen Markt”, kaufkräftig und unternehmungslustig. So jemand ist natürlich nicht häßlich.
      Über Komposition, nicht zusammenpassende Farben etc. kann man streiten, ob das zur Häßlichkeit dazu gehört oder zum neuen Trend, zur Provokation der Künstler_in.
      Schön und Häßlich, ich denke tatsächlich, das sind Begriffe, die nicht mehr in unsere Zeit passen.
      Was sagst du dazu?
      Wir sind auf den Sprung, wir wollen die Küche in Michas Wohnung malern und die letzten Dinge ausräumen. Es zieht sich endlos dahin und wir würden viel lieber die Stauden und Sträucher im Garten schneiden.
      Liebe Grüße von Susanne

      Like

    • Liebe Susanne,
      ich bin gespannt welche Werke du für deine Dissertation heraussuchst. Bist du fertig geworden?

      Ich stimme dir voll und ganz zu – was man mit liebenden Augen betrachtet ist schön. Die veränderten Fotos (alt gemacht) sind ja nicht hässlich, eher ulkig, ich muss gestehen, ich habe dabei Tränen gelacht. Die Collage sollte eher die Schwierigkeit dem “Finden” des Hässlichen widerspiegeln, hier bin ich gescheitert und die vielen Kommentare bestätigen es. Wie schwer das war, damit fängt der Artikel an.

      Beauty is everywhere, you just have to look for it. Das wird oft erwähnt in den Kommentaren. Ich könnte sofort ausgehen und erfolgreich mit 10 beautiful photos zurückkommen. “Alle” werden zustimmen, ja “beautiful!”
      Meinst du ich könnte die gleiche Trefferquote bei den Lesern mit 10 hässlichen Bildern erreichen? Niemals.
      Ih mage deine Arbeiten sehr. Du versucht nie etwas zu verschönern oder ein Subjekt besonders gefällig zu präsentieren.
      Wie würdest du “The Ugly” angehen?

      Ich habe gestern und heute die ganze Zeit mit einem Foto-Artikel für The Norfolk Coast Guardian 2021 gearbeitet. Jetzt brauche ich etwas Abwechslung vom Bildschirm und werde Klausbernd im Garten unterstützen.

      Liebe Grüße nach Berlin,
      Hanne x

      Liked by 2 people

    • Liebe Hanne,
      ich habe schon auf Klausbernds Kommentar geantwortet, wie ich das Häßliche sehe.
      Ja, der Begriff Häßlichkeit hat etwas unangenehmes, was wir uns nicht gerne anschauen, wo wir uns vor fürchten. Niemand möchte das Attribut häßlich zugeordnet bekommen.

      Zu meiner Diss, ich habe festgestellt, dass ich nicht Global Künstler_innen auswählen kann, die ich als Beispiel nehme. Jede Situation, jede Funktion, jedes Attribut erfordert andere Beispiele, die eine einzelne Künstler_in nicht erfüllt. Im Moment versuche ich aus der Bücherei das Werkverzeichnis von Francis Bacon von Rothenstein zu erhalten, es ist im Außenlager und das ist Coronabedingt geschlossen. 😦
      Im Moment ist es schwer zu forschen, an Bücher ist kaum heranzukommen. Meine Bibliothek ist groß aber nicht riesig. 😉

      Micha scharrt schon mit den Füßen, wir wollen los!!!!!!

      Liebe Grüße und eine dicke Umarmung von Susanne

      Like

    • Liebe Dina,
      wir geben dir absolut recht. Wenn man an die Form-Inhalt-Übereinstimmung denkt, dann ist es eine enorme Herausforderung das Hässliche in hässlicher Weise darzustellen.
      🥰
      Siri 🙂 und 🙂 Selma, Masterchen

      Liked by 2 people

    • Oh dear, liebe Susanne,
      das Form-Inhalt-Problem lässt mich gerade nicht los. Also, es geht um Stil und Inhalt, was in der Philosophie Hylemorphismus genannt wird. Dazu haben ja viele kluge Denker wie Aristoteles (der allerdings zu allem sich eine Meinung anmaßte), Kant und Adorno, um nur einige zu nennen, nachgesonnen. Stil ist ein Ordnungsprinzip, es ist formgebend und nicht unabhängig vom Inhalt. Außerdem ist es an Historizität, aber nicht an Wahrnehmung gebunden. Das beantwortet aber alles letztendlich nicht die Frage, ob Hässliches anmutig dargestellt werden kann. Verliert das Objekt Hässlichkeit dann seinen hässlichen Charakter und wird zu etwas anderem? Ich finde das eine interessante Frage, die hier in den Kommentaren und auch bes. bei denen zum Podcast immer wieder aufblitzte. Ich glaube, darüber muss ich noch lange nachdenken. Es ist für uns interessant für Dina’s Fotografie. Letztendlich geht’s darum, was ist der angemessenste Stil, die angemessenste Form, um einen Inhalt für eine bestimmte Rezipientengruppe zu präsentieren.
      Mit lieben Grüßen vom sonnigen Meer
      Klausbernd
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

    • Ja, Klausbernd, ich glaube unbedingt, dass eine anmutige Darstellung das vermeintlich häßliche in vermeintlich schön verwandelt. Sehr interessant. Komposition, Präsentation und der schöpferische Geist, die Idee, gehören untrennbar zusammen. Kann das eine ohne das andere existieren?
      Wir sind gerade fix und alle aus Michas Wohnung vom Streichen wiedergekommen und ich sitze mit dem iPad auf der Couch … bestimmt lese ich gleich und schlafe dabei ein …..
      Liebe Grüße von Susanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Susanne,
      dass ‘schön’ und ‘hässlich’ nicht mehr in unsere Zeit passen, finde ich einen Gedanken, über den sich nachzusinnen lohnt. Auf der einen Seite kann ich die Idee dahinter sehen, auf der anderen Seite glaube ich, wenn die Dichotomie schön-hässlich außer Kraft gesetzt wird, wir uns um eine Dynamik beschneiden. Ich habe ein schlechtes Gefühl bei solchen Vereinfachungen. Das Aushalten der Spannung von schön und hässlich und das wir es hiermit mit zwei Begriffen zu tun haben, die den Widerspruch herausfordern, finde ich gut. Es ist doch geradezu revolutionär, dem nicht so recht Fassbaren in unserer Gesellschaft einen Raum zuzubilligen. Mir gefällt besonders das Kontroverse an dieser Begrifflichkeit. Etwas hässlich zu nennen, erzeugt fast immer von irgendeiner Seite Widerstand. Das liebe ich. Wenn Kunst mit Kommunikation zu tun hat, dann ist ‘hässlich’ ideal. Jeder hat eine Meinung dazu.
      Mit lieben Grüßen vom Meer, wo ich mich jetzt dem süßen Müßiggang hingebe
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Like

    • Ja, lieber Klausbernd, so gesehen hast du auf jeden Fall recht. Häßlich und auch schön polarisieren und da jeder eine Vorstellung von diesen beiden Begriffen hat, diskutiert auch jeder gerne mit.
      Du hast auch recht, dass das nicht fassbare kaum noch Raum in unserer Gesellschaft hat. Da lohnt es sich, darüber nachzudenken. Ich überlege gerade, ob vielleicht gerade deshalb Mond und Mars besiedelt werden sollen. Das gibt Raum für Träume und unbekannte Gefilde.
      Ich lege mich jetzt auf die Couch und lese weiteres zur Definition vom „Oeuvre“ im allgemeinen. Interessant. Es steht ein guter Artikel dazu in Metzlers Lexikon der Kunstwissenschaften. Ich mag dieses Lexikon besonders, weil ich viele der Autoren aus Vorlesungen kenne.
      Liebe Grüße von Susanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Susanne,
      herzlichen Dank für deinen Kommentar. Es ist doch stets das Geheimnisvolle, das uns anzieht – worauf ja auch die Popularität des Krimis beruht.
      Das finde ich interessant, die Definition von “Oeuvre”, aber ich sollte mich nicht verzetteln. Vieles ist ja interessant …
      Mit ganz lieben Grüßen von uns allen hier
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

  31. It really is hard to make Klausbernd ugly. 🙂
    I found the photos interesting more than ugly. For example, the skeleton in the trash photo. I immediately saw an intriguing mountain in the bird poop. I wondered what had killed the wasps, and I really liked Clyffe Cafe. If Kitsch is ugly, I’m all for it. Grin. –Curt

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Curt,
      my sister who is working for one of the leading museums of modern art just wrote that for her these pictures are ‘shabby chic’. Dina and I had long discussions about style and content. I think you can’t produce an ugly picture by photographing an ugly object in a perfect style. I suppose the style has to express the content. Dina disagrees, for her, it seems to be impossible to produce a picture that isn’t perfect in a technical way. Here we see how hard it’s to produce an ugly picture. If you ask photographers to take a beautiful picture, no problem everyone will produce one, but ask them to take an ugly picture they run into problems. Only the very best are capable to produce a really ugly picture. There are a lot of inhibitions to overcome.
      We killed the wasps. They invaded our house. We tried to get rid of them with biological means but in vain, so we decided on chemical warfare.
      Thanks for your comment. Enjoy the kitsch 😉
      Klausbernd
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • ‘Shabby chic’ works for me. 🙂 I suspect that ugly is a bit like beauty in that the ‘the eye of the beholder’ has an important role to play. Aesthetically pleasing versus jarring is a factor as well. Both painting and photography can slap us in the face and make us more aware. You might say that they are capable of showing the ugly realities of life. Good photographic journalism and Guernica come to mind. Dina’s heaping pile of trash might be another example. Anyway, your post raises interesting questions! Sorry to take so long to get back to you, Klausbernd, I’ve been off at Pt. Reyes National Seashore enjoying my birthday. I’m doing a post on elephant seals, Friday. You will have to tell me whether they are beautiful or ugly? I tend to think that they are so ugly they are beautiful. Run that one by Dina. 🙂 –Curt

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Curt,
      we hope you have had a happy birthday and wishing you many happy and healthy returns.
      We are very curious about the elephant seals we never saw in the wild.
      If one is taking a photograph of something by taking this photograph he or she transforms it into an interesting object however ugly it may be. Therefore it seems to me impossible to produce an really ugly picture.
      Lookig forward seeing your next post
      Klausbernd and the rest of
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

    • I was just putting together Friday’s post, Klausbernd. Elephant seals are amazing creatures, staying at sea for months at a time and diving between one and two thousand feet in search of food! And I love their look! 🙂 Interestingly, I’ve certainly questioned the quality of a photo I might take, but I’ve never thought of one as ugly. Unattractive, yes. –Curt

      Liked by 1 person

  32. If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, ugliness is too. I think Maize is beautiful, yet others may find it ugly. Yes, this goes far beyond art. It is the same for people – not only how they look, but what they represent. Thank you for an important post. Thank goodness for ‘Gloria’ in my classroom. Ugly is also beauty.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Jennie,
      the eye of the beholder is not subjective. It’s often misunderstood in this way. Beauty and ugliness are dependent on the zeitgeist producing fashions, on biology, history, the structure of our perception and especially the ideology of the perceiver. Ugliness is much harder to understand than beauty. Originally ugliness was used for the looks of people but later it was used for what one represents and it was used for all objects people don’t like. Nowadays ugly is the new beauty and beauty is ugly 😉
      Thanks for commenting.
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  33. I kind of understand what you mean when you say since the age of romance we define ugliness as everything that doesn’t follow current aesthetic norms because our society is now moving with times, if you wear something that was a hit in the 90s people will call it ugly, not because its ugly but because its not of their time and they don’t understand it.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Amazing photographs, as usual (corn stalks is my favorite). For the beauty and ugliness, everything has two sides – you can’t have only one without the other. But then there are so many layers here… Our perception of beauty and ugliness is not cast in stone, it is fluid, and it is changing all the time…
    Thank you for the thought-provoking post

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much for your comment. We absolutely agree, what we see as ugly or beauty is changing all the time with the zeitgeist.
      Wishing you a wonderful week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Pingback: Ugliness – Kakada Article

  36. Hallo Ihr Lieben,
    ich denke auch, dass “Haesslichkeit” – ebenso wie “Kitsch” – eine Frage der persoenlichen Sichtweise ist. Fuer mich ist keines der hier gezeigten Bilder haesslich. Auch nicht die Verfremdungen von Klausbernds Kopf. Diese Bilder sind zwar wirklich nicht unbedingt geeignet als Beispiele fuer Schoenheit, aber meiner Meinung nach eben auch nicht fuer Haesslichkeit. Auch gealterte Gesichter haben ihren ganz eigenen Reiz.
    Liebe Gruesse ins kleine Dorf am grossen Meer,
    Pit

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hallo, lieber Pit,
      nach eingem Studieren der Kommunikationswissenschaft und Rezeptionsästhetik sind wir keineswegs der Ansicht, dass Hässlichkeit und besonders Kitsch (nur) subjektiv sind. Für Kitsch gibt es ja brilante Definitionen wie z.B. von der Rezeptionsästhetik als Erfüllung des Erwartungshorizonts des Rezipienten oder die von Walter Benjamin als jede kritische Distanz zwischen Artefakt und Rezipienten vermeidend, Susan Sonntag wendete das auch für die Fotografie an. Das finde ich eine völlig einleuchtende quasi objektive Beschreibungen vom Phänomen des Kitsches, das ja unsere heutigen Bilderwelten beherrscht.
      Mit der Hässlichkeit ist es schwieriger, obwohl Untersuchungen ergaben, dass z.B. Asymmetrie von unserem Wahrnehmungsapparat als negativ betrachtet wird. Hässlichkeit wurde nicht nur vom Bauhaus sondern bereits im Mittelalter auch funktional definiert, eben als das, was unfunktional ist. Ursprünglich wurden alle Krankheitszeichen als hässlich betrachtet, was auch noch heute der Fall. Hegel und speziell Adorno gingen auf diese Fragen in ihrer Ästhetik ein, wobei ich Adorno schwer verständlich finde (was ich übrigens als Student überhaupt nicht fand. Sollte ich mit zunehmendem Alter verblöden?)
      Mit ganz lieben Grüßen von uns allen
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

  37. Ugliness really is in the eyes of the beholder. Although the buildings are pretty dismal, I’m drawn to buildings like this. Maybe it’s because it’s unbelievable. Or a combo of laziness, lack of feeling for the environment or whatever. You’ve captured the essence of what you feel is ugly — but I’m still interested in seeing more!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, it’s extremely hard to produce an ugly picture. You have to cross an inner barrier. We had long discussions if you need an ugly style to show ugliness as the style makes the picture. Hanne-Dina rejects to produce a picture in an ugly style. And what does mean an ugly style? Out of focus, a crooked picture etc.?
      In contrast to beauty, ugliness is not an easy concept. You see that immediately if you want to take an ugly picture. A beautiful picture can everybody produce, no problem, but an ugly picture …
      Thanks for commenting
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  38. Very interesting post. I must admit that when I see ugly graffiti I want to paint it to look nice to me but realise someone must like the ugly tagging. I was walking around Tower Bridge this weekend and admiring the buildings and architecture you are right it is easier to concentrate on the nice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good morning, dear Charlotte,
      it’s much easier to concentrate on beauty but it’s a chalenge to concentrate on ugliness. Nevertheless it makes you aware of your limitations and prejudices.
      All the best, have a happy week and thanks for commenting
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
      P.S.
      It must be quite hard for you right now as there are no public performances. We keep our fingers crossed that this will soon come to an end.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Pingback: Ugliness – Reaching entrepreneurs ambitions

  40. This is a great topic. I’ve thought about portraying ugliness and it’s not easy. Altering the face of someone you know to make it uglier is an especially subjective task, I think. Some of the other subjects are things more people might agree on. The messy back of that house says “ugly” because of human neglect, something most people agree is not good, for a variety of reasons. It’s not a bad idea to look at the assumptions under those ideas once in a while! Value judgments come into play very quickly with the idea of ugly. The “Neatly cluttered” stuff doesn’t look as bad to me and the maize looks even better. All in the eyes of the beholder as you say. 🙂 The pigeon droppings seem ugly because of our disgust with feces but what about the guano that some cultures use for fertilizer? Maybe that’s not so ugly to people who make their living from it. The wasps seem to be more sad than ugly, because death isn’t a happy subject. They probably would have done the world some good if they lived. But I’m not allergic to bees or wasps so that might make a difference, too. Graffiti is, of course, an art form now and buildings that have rough, aged surfaces are often admired. I think Dina had to work hard to make the last photo ugly but she succeeded by exaggerating the colors. 🙂 As you pointed out, concepts like ugliness change over time. They have their own history even if we take them for granted. Have a good week and keep asking questions! 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Lynn,
      actually, we think that none of Dina’s pictures are ugly. But when we think about ugliness we run into problems expressing what’s the essence of ugliness. Our dear Master and Siri 🙂 believe that the form, or they would say the style, makes the message. But what is an ugly style? It’s easy to say what’s a beautiful style but an ugly one …
      Okay, then we thought about an ugly object. But what makes an object ugly. In former times it was easy, signs of disease were seen as ugly, later is was everything that wasn’t mainstream. It’s easier to say what is kitsch, there we have clear defenition we immediately understand but ugliness is a problem. No doubt it’s a mixture of objective and subjective factors but to define this blend is a challenge and changing with the zeitgeist. We don’t think we will find an answer to the question “what makes ugliness ugly?” As Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma say with their fairy wisdom: “It’s important to ask the right questions but don’t exspect to find the right answers.” Does an ‘right answer’ exist?
      Thanks for your differentiated and inspiring comment. We wish you a wonderful week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Those are all good points…what is ugly? Kitsch does seem to be easier to define. Siri and Salem are right – keep asking questions while understanding that answers can be elusive. An answer that seems like a good one might out a stop to further questioning, and we don’t want that, do we? So we live in uncertainty but we keep asking. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Lynn,
      you are absolutely right. If you think you got an answer you finish questioning. An answer is a dead end.
      Thanks for your wise comment.
      Wishing you a happy rest of the week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  41. This podcast is fantastic, so well organized and instructive. Certainly, a learning experience. The organizations of the translations and the original were impressive. Thank your; this podcast is truly outstanding! ! !

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you very much!
      It’s really hard to define ugliness. For us, it was important to ask basic questions and make our readers think about it.
      Wishing you all the best
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

  42. Das scheint ein wichtiger artikel zu sein.
    Zunächst: die altersportraits zu Anfang fand ich keineswegs abstoßend.
    Herlinde koelbls buch “jüdische Portraits ” prägte mich, aber schon vorher war ich aufgeschlossen dem Charme älterer Frauen.
    Gelegentlich fotografiere ich schmudelkram. Also ein Sammelsurium aller möglichen Dinge in irgendeiner Ecke. Das hat gewissen Charme.
    Oder mit grösserer brennweite zig zig Dinge unterschiedlichster art hintereinander.
    Fülle.
    Mit meinen Insekten ust es ähnlich sie werden gemeinhin als hässlich empfunden. Das empfinde ich völlig anders!! Natürlich, wenn man die ” zusammengeschusterten mundwerkzeuge in grossaufnahme sieht, verliert sich etwas das faszinierende.
    Nochetwas:
    Ich sah vor 15 Jahren eine Ausstellung mit Portraits von Modells im Format etwa 2m x 3m. So nahvwirkten diese Gesichter..hässlich.
    Es kommt also auf die Dimension an

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lieber Gerhard,
      das ist ein wichtiger Punkt, über den wir noch nicht nachgedacht haben: Der Einfluss der Dimension auf unser Hässlichkeitsempfinden. Hier steht gerade von Frances Quinn “The Smallest Man” auf allen Bestsellerlisten, ein Buch das zeigt, wie z.B. die Kleinheit im 17. Jh. in England eine viel bewunderte Attraktion war.
      Ja, darüber sind sich alle Fotografen hier einig, man kann schwerlich ein hässliches Foto produzieren. Ich schrieb darüber in meiner Antwort zu Ottos Kommetar.
      Habe Dank für deinen Kommentar 🙏 🙏
      Mit lieben Grüßen vom sonnigen Meer. Hab ein feines Wochenende
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  43. The question is, is ugliness, as beauty, just a matter of the influence of the environment, culture and so on – or does it actual serve an inherent purpose? Such as the bioligist might indicate? I don’t know, but I find the discourse interesting. As a photographer, I know it’s almost impossible to create ugliness in a photo. As soon as you frame something you think is ugly, it turns into something beautiful, as the images here so clearly show.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Otto,
      we had the same problem that we couldn’t find or produce ugly photographs. Maybe it has to do with the medium photography. When you see a photograph you immediately subconsciously associate beauty like when you see something in a museum you associate art (like Andy Warhol’s Campbell Tin).
      I suppose, ugliness and beauty serve a purpose. Otherwise it would be hard to explain why mammals perceive symmetry better than asymmetry. Maybe this has to do with survival of the species? Most of the people associate beauty and ugliness with attraction or the lack of attraction.
      For me, ugliness and beauty belong to these concepts which are hard to define. They are permanently changing. If we think about them we can learn a lot about ourselves, especialy about our perception and judging.
      Thanks for your comment. Have a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  44. Interessante Reflexionen über Hässlichkeit. Und während ich dir hier schreibe, schaut mich ein großer, kitschiger (von anderen als hässlich bezeichneter) Holzengel an 👼🏼
    In unserer Familie befinden sich – außer ein Graphik-Designer – sehr stilvolle Menschen, die sich darin ziemlich einig sind: Es gibt Dinge, die sind so kitschig, dass sie hässlich sind.
    Vielleicht mag ich dieses hölzerne Ungetüm deshalb so gern, dass ich sogar mal einen Blogbeitrag darüber geschrieben hab.
    Ja – es ist kitschig, lässt keinen Raum für Interpretation. Es schaut lieb auf mich herab, trägt geduldig meinen Kopfhörer und trötet (unhörbar natürlich).
    Aber wenn ich ganz genau hinschaue, kann ich sie erkennen – die leise, unböse Ironie in seinen Augenwinkeln 😊
    In diesem Sinne
    liebe Grüße
    Sabine aus dem 🕷 🕸

    Liked by 2 people

    • Es gibt Kreationen, die sind so entseelt von jeglicher inspiration, dass man sie als unappettlich empfinden muss.

      Eine zeitlang hielt ich immer wieder an einer Raststätte, die so öööde war, der Kaffee so schlecht, die Bedienung so altbacken, dass es fast schon wieder kult war.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Da hast du wohl recht, lieber Gerhard. Wir kennen das auch, am London Orbital gibt’s Tankstellen mit Mini-Raststätten, die nur bei den Unsensibelsten keine Spontan-Depression auslösen. Werden sie jedoch fotografiert, verwandeln sie sich in Kult. Die Magie der Fotografie, wie jeder Kunst, liegt ja darin, selbst das Hässlichste zu ästhetisieren.
      Danke für deinen Kommentar.
      Hab ein rundum feines Wochenende
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Zum Thema “Hässlichkeit” fiel mir bei einem kleiner Fotopirsch noch mehr ein:

      An anderer Stelle (Myriade) hatte ich Herlinde Koelbls Buch “Jüdische Portraits” erwähnt, in dem sehr alte Menschen portraitiert wurden: Fotografisch und in Bezug zum Judentum und ihren Lebenserfahrungen.
      Das Buch kaufte ich in meinen Endreissigern, weil ich von den Fotos der sehr alten Menschen begeistert war.
      Ich denke, Koelbl wollte auch sensibilisieren fürs Alter. Denn sie verfasste später einen Fotoband “Starke Frauen”, in dem es um eine Neubewertung von Dickleibigkeit geht.

      Dann erinnere ich mich an meine zuletzt meist blauen “Wurzelköpfe” in Ton. Ich hatte sie oft bewusst verzerrt oder mit Kanten versehen, oft lies ich sie auf den Werkstattboden oder gegen Gerüst fallen und schaute, was ich damit danach anfange.
      Ich fand sie immer attraktiv, spannend, aber eine Bloggerin meinte nur” Schön ist was anderes”.

      In dem Zusammenhang erinnere ich mich auch an die Plastiken von Hrdlicka oder Ipousteguy. Letzter hatte mich regelrecht überrannt. So imanent stark war seine Kunst. Schön im herläufigen Sinn ist sie nicht.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm, das Problem mit der Hässichkeit ist, dass, wenn sozusagen Hässliches als Kunst präsentiert wird, es nicht mehr als hässich sondern eher als interessant wahrgenommen wird. Das ist so wie mit Andy Warhols Konservendose, die im Museum zu Kunst wird. Es ist ja nicht unerheblich, in welchem Zusammenhang etwas präsentiert wird. Dein Wurzelköpfe in der Künstlerwerkstatt oder einer Ausstellung werden als interessante Kunst rezipiert, auf der Müllhalde sähe man sie als hässlich an.
      Mit lieben Grüßen
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Das ist natürlich richtig. Die Präsaentation entscheidet mit, ob etwas Kunst ist. Und auch der Name! Ein und dasselbe Stück von einem XY oder von einem wohlbekannten Künstler, das macht den Unterschied. Zumal man ja bei einem arrivierten Künstler meist gewillt ist, tiefer hinzuschauen und dann den (vermeintlichen) künstlerischen Willen zu entdecken.

      Von meiner Frau weiss ich auch, daß grössere keramische Objekte einen guten Standort habern müssen, meist erhöht und für sich stehend. Das gehört dazu. Sie fragt nicht umsonst: Wo soll das jetzt entstehende Objekt stehen?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Sabine,
      wir räumen in gewissen Abständen unser Haus auf, und bes. Dina und Selma werfen jeden Kitsch und jede Hässlichkeit in die Tonne. Aber ständig sammelt sich bei uns neues, eigentlich Hässliches an. Es scheint uns auch so, was in einer Situation witzig oder ironisch erscheint, wirkt in der nächsten voll hässlich.
      Mit lieben Grüßen vom sonnigen Meer
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  45. So, I was waiting for this ugly (!) post – and I am late again reading! My only excuse is helping my daughter move from Umeå back home again last week.
    Interesting history and discussion, and I agree, it is not easily done making an ugly image. Impossible really. The photoshop techniches helps, but no. And dilapidated houses and garbage…well, somehow the images are still not ugly. Everyone has their own views on what is beautiful and what is ugly, and what was considered ugly/beautiful once could be totally reversed a hundred years later.
    I think of my Spanish teacher in highchool. He was a funny and quite lovely man, who always pointed out I would be no hit if I went to Spain – I was far too skinny and they only wanted sturdy and round women.
    Well, now I am looking forward to listening to the podcast!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Ann-Christine, have fun listening.
      During gardening today I got the idea that the surrounding matters in which an artefact is perceived. It’s like with Warhol’s tin that’s art because it’s presented in the museum and not on a shelf in a supermarket. A picture presented in a museum or even on a blog is perceived as interesting, it doesn’t matter what the object is.
      Your Spanish teacher is absolutely right, f.e. I have never had a round girl friend or one with black hair – that’s just the other way round.
      Wishing you a happy weekend
      Klausbernd and the rest of
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

    • I friend of mine won a sholarship of Madrid University. She is a typical Nordic type, blond hair, thin and blue eyes, she even has the Nordic name Gunhild. She was quite unhappy in Spain because if being not attractive there – especially as she was used to be seen as attractive in Germany.
      ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

      Like

    • Thank you very much, dear Karen. I relly like this topic and took part in lots of discussions about it for years. I still find it interesting.
      Wishing you all the best,
      Klausbernd and te rest of
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  46. What an interesting reflection on ugliness, and of course you struggled to produce ugly photos. I’d say you failed, since the photos were beautiful in color and texture and composition, at least. The socio-political-historical influences and responses on ugliness were especially interesting and enlightening. So much of these judgements based on cultural training. Fascinating post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Diana,
      thank you very much for commenting. Great that you like our post 🙂
      There is quite a difference between ugliness in the ‘real world’ and the picture of ugliness, ugliness as an artefact. No doubt, there is a lot of ugliness in the world around us but if we want to picture it it immediately has the tendency to become interesting, shabby chic or something similar. Art is magical in a way that it transforms ugliness.
      Wishing you a happy rest of the week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  47. This is a great reflective piece on the concept of ugliness. I like to think of ugliness as a concept. Not something to look down on or shunned or avoided but just a different kind of look of image. It usually is the things that we are afraid of admitting or confronting, and sometimes stemming from our worst fears. Love your photography. Very bold and striking images.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for commenting, dear Mabel 🙏 🙏
      We agree with you that ugliness is a concept or one could say a mode of looking at an object. On the psychological level ugliness is connected with fear and in the end with the fear of death.
      Thanks for liking Dina’s photography. We had long discussions about the pictures for this blog post.
      All the best, keep well
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

    • At the end of the day ugliness is not ugly so to speak. It is just another way of looking at things. Dina has amazing photography and I am sure you ad many pictures for this post. Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Mabel,
      you are very welcome.
      Dina is very happy that you like her photography. You made her smile 🙂
      All the best to you.
      Have a happy day
      Thanks for sharing
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Angie,
      well, beauty and ugly complement each other. The one is nothing without the other. We always have both sides.
      Thank you very much for commenting.
      Wishing you a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • That is true. But I wish people would focus more on the inner beauty of a person than what is digitally or cosmetically inhanced because physical beauty can fade but real inner beauty is magical.

      Like

  48. Your point is well taken. ‘Ugly’ is more about the connotative meaning of the word than the denotative. That’s a loss, I think. I didn’t see anything ugly in your pictures. I saw a lot of connotative depth, history, emotion, experience, lifetime… Good article.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Jacqui,
      we agree we had problems with the denotative side of ugly.
      It’s interesting to follow the connotations of ugly in history. It tells us a lot about the ideology of the ruling society.
      Thanks for commenting.
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s easier done with some periods than with others, isn’t it? Strangely enough it’s easier for me looking f.e. at Karolingian book illuminations or Dutch paintings of the 16th c. than artefacts of the 19th c.

      Liked by 1 person

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