How can you describe something as fucked up or messed up? Specifically talking about a bunch of pictures. A better way of saying “These pictures are fucked up.” A picture like this would be fucked up or disturbing or mentally challenging
Taboo warning: a lot of profanity in what follows.
Taboo words can have lots of nuances. They're hardly ever written and little thought is given to how to properly explain all the nuances, because of the very fact that they are taboo. They are avoided by standard speakers in standard, higher prestige situations and explanations tend not to come outside of those more accepted situations also.
You are primarily asking about 'fucked up'. It is fairly taboo; it should never be used in official writing, will make your mother embarrassed (if you say it), and may raise an eyebrow by your friends if used too much. It has a lot of semantic overlap with entirely non-taboo (but still informal) 'messed up' but is not identical. 'Fucked up' can mean a lot of related but distinct things. Mostly they have something to do with things being wrong in a bad way. A painting can be fucked up because it has been damaged badly, or because (very differently) it has a very strange perspective or has three eyes. A person can be messed up because they have drunk a lot. There's no good single adjective to replace all these different instances. 'This painting is damaged', 'This painting is bizarre', 'This person is very drunk (or high)'. Sometimes tiny grammatical nuances can distinguish them and sometimes all you have is context.
That's fucked up
primarily means that 'that' is disturbing or bizarre. That pregnant lady just tripped a little boy because he accidentally opened a door on her? "That's fucked up". It seems crazy that she would do that.
But if you're referring to a person.
He's fucked up
could mean various things. It could mean that he is really, really drunk or drugged "He had too many tequila shots, he's totally fucked up", or it could mean he has been injured badly "He drove his dad's car into the ditch, he's totally fucked up (badly injured) and the car is fucked up too (also badly damaged)".
As a verb it means to make a terrible mistake: 'He left out two zeroes on the check due yesterday. He fucked up'. Note that this is as a verb, the previous ones were adjectives (as past participles). Note also, because of this verb thing, you might say "He has fucked up". Properly formed in the informal register it would be "He's fucked up" which is ambiguous. It could mean either he has fucked up (made a mistake), or he is fucked up (injured or drunk), or, as often as not, both.
As to 'messed up', it can fit in all these instances with the same grammar and potential for ambiguity that often doesn't matter. It's just not at all taboo. It is still informal, just not taboo.
An alternative for 'fucked up' for made a mistake is
as in the hidden euphemism for SNAFU: "Situation Normal, All Fouled Up". 'Fouled up' is at about the same (lack of) taboo level and informality as 'messed up'.
Now, to answer your question directly, the choice of non-taboo term depends on the intention and register. 'messed up' works for all but may not be the right register; it's still a bit vague and informal.
- If the painting has been torn badly, say
or for people
They are injured.
- If the painting is of a scene that makes you uncomfortable, say
(or some other descriptive adjective).
- If the person is inebriated, say
They are drunk (or high).
or other versions.