Knacker's Yard, Shotesham

ScenicOrNot is a clever new game from mysociety. Random photos of England, Scotland and Wales are presented for rating on a scale of 1 to 10 according to their attractiveness. The photos, from geograph (itself, pretty compelling), cover 95% of the British Isles. Going by the ones I saw it's mostly shrubbery and a knacker's yard (above). It's all feeding into a secret project which will be revealed as soon as they have enough ratings - so get in there.

At first I found it difficult to judge the place, not the photograph. It quickly throws up all kinds of questions about what is 'scenic'. It's easy to judge what is conventionally beautiful (rolling hills, cute cottages) but harder to take a step back and rate something on whether or not it tickles your fancy. I find this whole thing fascinating - the way there's an accepted version of what's attractive. Our holidays often feel like hacking through the tourist board's view of what's important, to find the reality underneath.

Lyttleton Road Tunnel, New Zealand

Coincidentally, I was looking at a nice new Boring postcards blog (found in the excellent Boring Postcards Flickr group). It starts with this wonderful postcard of the Lyttleton Road Tunnel in New Zealand. I love this sort of thing - a reminder that these places were remarkable once and beautiful in their own way. You don't get curves like that in the countryside now, do you?

More boring postcards at Retroglobe | hansaviertel | popcards.

I like the idea of that ScenicOrNot site, but having spent some time on it, it's clear that there is no way you can really separate the judgement of the photo from the judgement of the place. Because you clearly ARE judging the photo - the decisions about what is framed and what is left unseen. You are not judging the place / scene but the choice of what is shown of that scene by whoever took the photo. Look at the 'leaderboard' for example. All very lovely photographs that you would struggle to rank with a low number, regardless of whether you personally like the context. Still, i'm intrigued as to how the site/project develops...

I've got a photo on my flickrstream of a cement manufacturing plant that I took in Munich. For some reason, it just looks so beautiful, despite also being boot-ugly.

Oh, I love a good manufacturing plant. Silhouetted against a blue sky, with smoke belching out of its chimneys. Beautiful.

If it's as lovely as this then, phwoar.

my dad was the chief engineer on the lytellton tunnel, near Christchurch in New Zealand. he took great pride in driving me through it. Over time the white tiles yellowed somewhat -- but I was always amazed by it, as if it were the greatest thing in the world.

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