Contrast and Gender

Discussion in 'Portraiture' started by polyglot, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Saw this today:
    [​IMG]

    food for thought. Note that it's clearly not just a contrast adjustment; the lips/skin tone ratio is quite different. It's like they've done the averaging in colour and then used different filters to arrive at the B&W image.
     
  2. cramej

    cramej Subscriber

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    One thing I disagree with is that it's "the best optical illusion of the century." They've happened upon an androgynous facial structure and picked two 'looks' that represent typical ethnic features. The 'girl' looks like any fair skinned, brown eyed and haired mid 20's girl. The 'guy' looks like either tan skinned, brown eyes and hair or of Mexican or South American origin. Most of the guys I know that are tan have brown hair and eyes - many of the fair skinned girls that I know have brown eyes and hair. All they've done is create images of 2 archetypes that many people would assume as male and female.

    Now after thinking about it, the face is not androgynous. If it were truly androgynous then it would appear to be neither male nor female. If you perceive either more than the other, then it's not true androgyny.
     
  3. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    So it's the hyperbole of the century...

    The interesting thing is that we can perceive a gender difference from tone alone, completely independent of form.
     
  4. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    They both look female to me. Smooth skin and fancy eye-brows.

    It is only when one is asked which one is male and which one is female do I then --being forced to differentiate between the two -- would I say the darker skin one would be the male. Some bias is immediate thrown into this 'experiment'.
     
  5. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    They look like a 15 years-old young boy and if we don't see hair, dress etc. they can be pretty "androginous" in nature, actually theatre has always worked on this ambiguity for centuries (I'm thinking about "the twelfth night" because I saw it recently).

    The face on the left appears more "made up": not just the lips have "red" on it, but there appear to be some eye shadow around the eyes which is more evident than in the other picture.

    Woman skin is generally (consciously or not) thought to be whiter than male skin for whatever reason.
    That has probably also to do with skin generally (consciously or not) thought to be darker in older people.

    That goes a long way back in history.

    http://www.crystalinks.com/RomePainting2.jpg
    http://images2.bridgemanart.com/cgi-bin/bridgemanImage.cgi/400wm.IND.3646110.7055475/113284.jpg
    http://calitreview.com/images/Pompeii_wall_painting.jpg
     
  6. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    If you look at the old BW movies, sometimes women are lit softer and soft filters are used on lenses. Men are lit more in a specular fashion. I'm talking about Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman films. The cultural bias is that men have chiseled features and women are soft are curvy. Tell me if I'm full of it.
     
  7. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    I perfectly agree. Normally woman were rendered with lower contrast, a softer light, and a diffuser in front of the lens (or nylon thighs in extreme cases). Men were rendered with higher contrast and harsher light so as to accentuate the "corners" of eyes and jaw, beard, wrinkles etc.

    Another common trick: woman were framed from above, and men from below. In "Humphrey Bogart - Ingrid Bergman" films this happens quite often.

    In this case thought the added "contrast" works actually as a hint of makeup (red lips, eye shadow) and IMO it is this "hint" of make-up which can influence the vision, rather than the contrast in itself.
     
  8. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Me, too.
     
  9. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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    The dark tone of lips on the left make it appear like lipstick. That seems to me why it looks more female.
     
  10. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2012