Gallery: "Beautiful Ugly"

This is a project that has been on my mind for a long time. And I know that – if I don’t get it out there – it will never take off. Getting it out will also force me to start looking again...

Chile is a country of extreme contrasts and an extremely beautiful but also violent geography. The latter characteristic takes many shapes: volcanic eruptions, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis.
This violence reflects in the nature of the Chilean people – hospitable, resilient, inventive and aggressive – and in its urban landscape, marked by pollution, endless traffic jams and a remarkable lack of beauty. Not because it is not there, but because it is overwhelmed by the ordinary and obvious, the gross and grotesque.
Beauty appears not to be an issue in a country of miners and fishermen, where functionality comes before everything, let alone beauty.

After a while, one’s senses start to dull and then yield to these relentless visual attacks. Somewhere along the line, we all reach that unavoidable point where the mind just filters out everything, where we don't question anything anymore, however grotesque.
Once that happens, we simply stop "being"; we isolate ourselves from "seeing" and "feeling" the spaces that surround us, and – therefore – the people that we share them with...

This blog is dedicated to finding the things that are hidden in plain sight, the beauty and the anti-beauty, the things we don't want to see, and those we have forgotten how to see.
Wherever possible I have tried to preserve the beauty in the photography, to remind me that a beautiful experience may often come in the disguise of ugliness.

By • Galleries: Beautiful Ugly
Nº 0003: Ugliness pointing to beauty
Sign pointing to the Colchagua Museum. Santa Cruz, Chile - V Region. September 19, 2003.

This one is rather cute, even though I can't help wondering how the tree must have felt when someone drove a 3 inch nail into it.
Still, I guess that - in comparison with the brutal amputation of its right arm - it must have been a mere nuisance.
What makes this innocent in a charming way is the typo, because to my knowledge there is no language in the world where the word is spelled like that. In fact, in Spanish double consonants are extremely rare...

Still, it points to one of the more interesting and beautiful museums in Chile, which contains the large, once private collection of alleged arms dealer Carlos Cardoen.
But then, that's a whole different kind of ugly, isn't it?
If you ever happen to happen on Santa Cruz, make sure you don't miss the museum. It is not hard to find, even in the absence of funny road signs...

By • Galleries: Beautiful Ugly