The Definitions of What is Beautiful and Ugly // New Year Ditypchs /December 30, 2016 by Nathan Jones 1. In photography’s early days, photographs were expected to be idealized images. This is still the aim of most amateur photographers, for whom a beautiful photograph is a photograph of something beautiful, like a woman, a sunset. In 1915 Edward Steichen photographed a milk bottle on a tenement fire escape, an example of a quite different idea of the beautiful photograph. And since the 1920s, ambitious professionals, whose work gets into museums, have steadily drifted away from lyrical subjects, conscientiously exploring plain, tawdry, or even vapid material. In recent decades, photography has succeeded somewhat in revising, for everybody, the definitions of what is beautiful and ugly. — Susan Sontag in "On Photography" 2. 3. 4. For the last forty years [William Eggleston has] been “at war with the obvious,” working in a “democratic forest” where everything visible is equally viable as subject matter. Trees, dirt, signs, houses, carpet, red ceilings, naked men, old men with guns, tricycles, etc. Working in this manner, he inspired many photographers to look no further than their immediate surroundings for inspiration. Then came digital cameras, and then the internet, and then Flickr. Eggleston may have won the war with the obvious, but now the obvious is getting its revenge in the form of the millions of banal, boring, dull photographs that are being uploaded to the web everyday. We don’t need to go far to find the ‘democratic forest,’ in fact, we may never be able to escape it. — Bryan Formhals 5.