Beautiful Photographs of Ugly Subjects

Professional photographers have that funny knack for capturing ugly events, outcasts of society, or normally trashy objects and turning them into a beautiful work of art. This has been done over and over again; yet each new photograph of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico or of riots in the streets catches us off-guard and reminds us of the beauty that can be found in even the worst situations. The following set of photos shows just how brilliantly a stunning photo can turn an ugly thing into a gorgeous moment frozen in time.

Dry by Karol

An old rusted and algae-infested faucet and drain pool are captured at a stunning angle that shows the array of colors in this scene.

Sing Song by TooLoose-LeTrek

Anyone passing by this old building front would think it a nasty, rundown sort of place. However, when captured in a photograph, this shutdown office makes one wonder what interesting singers passed through the place when it was alive and hopping.

Ol’ Knuckle-Buster by Its My Moment

The bandaged knuckles, complete with a tinge of blood on one finger, the grease marks, and the huge rusty wrench would normally be something that most people would either not notice or shrink away from. This photographer was able to capture the raw grunge of this composition, turning it into a stunning work of art.

Solar Panel

Normally, a solar panel would either be unnoticeable, a constant background item that our eyes overlook; however, a photo of a single solar panel with nothing but the vivid blue sky as a background is quite captivating.

Hung out to Dry by Proph Bundy

Rows of project housing identical down to even the laundry lines, is normally quite an ugly sight. This photo turns it into a story involving a handful of families and individuals who passed through these units over the years.

Ugly Macro by Ari Aikomus

Nasty cigar and cigarette butts rotting in dirty rainwater – normally a very disgusting sight. This macro shot somehow turns this trash into a detailed and eye-catching composition.

Nails by Andy Muskopf

A handful of rusty nails normally look like a pile of junk, but this photo has turned junk into a colorful and detailed art piece.

Many beautiful fields often contain ugly piles of broken down machinery, not a pretty sight in real life. This photograph, however, turned this old case threshing machine into a thing of beauty by contrasting the naturally stunning surrounding landscape.

Zwirnerei 2 by Andre Joossev

This old abandoned factory in Germany is full of decay and rubble. Andre Joosse took this photo in the perfect lighting and angle, creating quite a stunning grunge photo.

Zwirnerei 1 by Andre Joosse

Another photo of a German factory by Andre, the appealing part of this one is the room at the end of the row of orange machinery hanging from the ceiling.

Oil in Raouchet Inlet by epape

An oil spill is a terrible disaster to surrounding nature. This photo is made captivating by the contrast of the ugly oil compared to the clean ocean beyond; you can also see a glimpse of the past beauty of this inlet, making it quite a heart-wrenching composition.

The Iceland Volcano

A natural disaster can create some horrific destruction on surrounding areas. Very often, however, the occurrence can be quite stunning. The billowing smoke from this volcano was captured perfectly in this photo.

Hello! By Tothzoli001

An ugly insect can be made quite beautiful when captured up close. The colors would make this photo a beautiful postcard.

Next Top Model by Perathor

This very hideous turkey, while still very ugly in this portrait, is a great example of photography capturing beautiful details in the most unlikely of places. Notice the intricate folds of his bright red wattle and the vivid blue of the skin on his head.

Wood Siding by Jonathan

The siding is actually falling off of this building, the paint is peeling from the door, and everything looks quite weathered. Yet what a beautiful photo it makes, especially at this angle.

Char & Clouds by Chris Lombardi

A burned forest is always a sad sight. This very talented photographer, though, has managed to turn the charred stumps into a gorgeous photo with the brilliant angle, bright blue sky, and stunning clouds.

Adult Male Phidippus by Thomas Shahan

Spiders can be extremely creepy, and this one is no exception. Even those with arachnophobia could not deny the beauty in the amazing details in this macro shot.

Caracol (snail) by Aitor Las Hayas

Apparently, snails are quite ugly, even up close. Yet the perfectly blurred background while the snail’s head remains in focus is incredible.

California Wildfires by The News-Press, Michael Moriatis

The wildfire attacking the telephone poles is saddening and stunning at the same time. This photographer perfectly captured the raw power of a fire out of control.

Chilean Volcano

A horrible disaster, this volcano caught in action makes for a gorgeous photograph. The colors and details in the erupting smoke are phenomenal!

Tara Hornor has a degree in English and writes about marketing, advertising, branding, graphic design, and desktop publishing. She works for, an online printing company that offers postcards, posters, brochure printing, postcard printing, and more printed marketing media. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

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Only comments in English will be approved!


  1. 18/10/2011

    Very original idea on the entry. Great pictures.

  2. 04/12/2011

    so amazing !

  3. 02/01/2012

    No doubt Photographer and Designers can display the ugliest things in impressive way and you really collected Awesome pictures. All credits goes to the Photographer.

  4. 09/04/2012

    Great Pictures, Ugly Subjects but very nice Photography