Photographing Differences in Gender

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CC BY 2.0 | Source

For example you can start the project by taking several pictures of a lady at home and what her daily routine involves; how she gets dinner ready, how she participates with the kids, the cleaning and so on.

You can follow these images by capturing images of a man when he is home, what chores he does, how he interacts with the children and so on.

Try not to capture images that appear to be the "ideal family". Go for realistic portrayals of family life.

Same principle can be applied to children at play and at school; how do boys behave and what they do as compared to the same things and activities done by girls.

Photographing the many differences between one gender and the other is a project that has been explored quite a few times.

Not only are the differences between a man and a woman enough to supply material to spend many hours documenting but you can also do differences between old and young, cultural differences and a hosts of other projects based simply in differences.

You can include scenes that take place in the work site, in the home, during a celebration like girls night out, child rearing, schooling ,clothing, and many other habits.

The idea is to offer variety in the shots just as there is variety in the lives of each subject. There is really no set limit on the number of variations or how the project is conducted. For example capturing differences in sexual behavior and bodies is enough to supply a large number of photographic scenes.

A good shoot can revolve around the differences in mating rituals and how one sex aims to gain the attraction of the other.

Attention should be placed on subtleties in behavior like when a lady is interested in a gentlemen; how she may seek eye contact , play with her hair, smile and so on. Note the acts performed by a man in response once he becomes aware of the lady's interest in him; how he may approach her, his smile, his sense of confidence, his body's proximity to hers etc.

A good tip would be to record images of the eyes and preferably where their gaze fixates; men are likely to be looking at a woman's behind and chest while the lady may fixate her gaze at his eyes and other facial features.

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CC BY 2.0 | Source

In other words, the project will try to show through photographs whether men are inherently better than women are at some skills, and vice versa and although we may tend to think otherwise, with the caveat that there are always exceptions one possible theme should focus on nature vs nurture and the way society and perceived roles play a part in how gender are different.

For example science has concluded that men are better at judging the size of another person by simply listening to the voice; this means that men have an enhanced ability to correctly judge a person's size based solely on the sound of his or her voice. So a photograph showing this may be a tall man next to a much bigger one.

Science also say that men are better navigators so therefore a photograph used to represent this may show a man pointing in one direction and a lady fumbling over a road map.

Another good sample is that according to most scientific research a woman can remember the specific locations of single object while man may be better able to remember a general location of such things.

A photograph showing a man fumbling through drawers as if looking for the keys to the car while next to him is a lady with the keys in her hand may be a good image featuring this particular difference.

So you see, the photographs do not have to be complicated. You just have to think of scenes that are easily interpreted and highlight notate differences.

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CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

Are gender differences very pronounced?

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Lets look at another key difference. It has to be said that women are better at child rearing than men and we probably do not need a scientist to tell us this.

A photograph of a room full of kids running around while the man is sitting on a couch looking desperate will show this key difference while a photograph of a woman gentleness in directing the children in what they should be doing are two good examples that clearly denote this difference in attitudes and a way of approaching a task.

How about love? A photograph of a lady smiling and almost teary eyed looking at a beautiful bouquet of roses while the man is clearly focused on some of her "assets" is a clear depiction of a man's one track mind as they say.

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CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source
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CC BY-SA 3.0 | Source

Want more samples? men do not seem to show worry as much or as clearly as women do, or at least that is what research has shown.

A lady biting her nails and looking anxious while a man just looks as if thinking may be a good photographic representation of yet another gender difference.

How about the ability that science says is present in women as compared to men and that women can better distinguish between subtleties in colors than men can.

Take a photograph of a lady holding something in fuschia while the man is simply holding something red. If the color representations are truly captured in the images then this difference in abilities or "taste" is clearly shown.

(CC BY-SA 3.0
(CC BY-SA 3.0 | Source

Bottom line is that you need to do your own brainstorming and come up with what you thinks are major differences in the genders and further come up with ideas in how to capture these differences in your photographs.

Another good way is to research the topic and use the results to formulate a set of scenes that will depict the differences.

A very popular way is to gather a group of your friends and family in a relaxed setting like a dinner party and ask them to list some of the perceived differences as they see them and to also give feedback in how they would show them.

This is a tried and tested method since it comes from real persons who are more likely to give truer answers than many formalized research methods.

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This is a good project to include in a portfolio of your work and many of the images can be used by lifestyle publications as well as by greeting card publishers.

Just be creative and think of new ways to show a very popular theme.

Your images must be outstanding in their representations if they are to make inroads into the publishing world.

It is good if you accompany each scene with a little explanation or keywords that lets the viewer know what difference is being showcased.

© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez

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