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Thread: For Men Only

  1. #21
    Ian David's Avatar
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    The responses above all point in the same direction...

    Camera stores, camera shows, and even forums like APUG are primarily about camera gear and the technical aspects of photography --> they attract an audience that is majority male. This then reinforces itself - I imagine a number of women drop by APUG and then leave again when they see the almost exclusively male population here.

    Photography/darkroom classes with an emphasis on art and creation (rather than just gear and technique) tend to balance things up by attracting the women back again.

  2. #22
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    My experience as a student at Indiana University in the late 1990s was that most of the photo students were women, but almost none of them had any real artistic depth or professional ambition. It was something fun that their parents or husbands were paying for. Only one of them is still doing photography today. She is a very talented woman who has worked her butt off while dealing with poverty and serious health issues. The rest? most have become 'stay at home moms', or they're working retail jobs.

    There were a number of women working in other art media, like painting, sculpture, and ceramics, when I was in school. They seemed to have a much deeper commitment to their art, and more drive, than the female photo students. I've kept in touch with many of my classmates, and I'd say maybe 70% of the female non-photo art students are still creating art, and many of them are doing it as fulltime professionals.

    I have no idea why it is that painting, ceramics, and sculpture attracted more creative and ambitious women, while photography did not.
    Chris Crawford
    Fine Art Photography of Indiana and other places no one else photographs.

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  3. #23
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    I also think there is a self-fulfilling action occurring, where manufacturers are aware the majority of their customers are male and then target advertisements, brochures, products, etc. toward men - this then leads to the implication that these products are for men and alienates women who might be interested, as it is seen as a "guy-thing". Thus, if all dslr's advertisements show men operating them and women operating smaller P&S's, the implication is that men should use dslr's and women should use P&S's. I remember trying to sell a dslr camera to a woman with delicate hands and should could not hold it and push the buttons - exact opposite to my large hands, I physically cannot operate a lot of P&S's because my fingers are too large to push only one button at a time. Look at any camera brochure, either men are using the dslr's or if a woman is, she is using a consumer model and is shooting either children or flowers while the men are using the pro models and are shooting sports or portraits.

    This is most noticeable in children's toys, where who is seen playing with the toy influences other children into believing that's who should be playing with it. However, many studies have shown that if you show children the same made-up job and men are doing it, more children believe women can't do it than if you show a woman doing it, they still believe men could do it but shouldn't. I actually see a lot of Foucault's power narrative at play in photography, both who does it and how they do it.
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

  4. #24

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    I'd agree. It seems as though more than half of the photographers/opening attendees at Photo Center NW (PCNW) in Seattle are female, but the majority of people jawing with sales staff at Glazers are men.

  5. #25
    Helinophoto's Avatar
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    Because women are a weird breed, that's why.


    ....what? :P


    But in all seriousness, I think the reason why there are generally fewer women doing photography on a "hard core" basis, is that; While it is a typically creative and artistic profession, you need to master a certain amount of logic and technique.

    Photography can be very technical, especially when you get past the "pretty flowers and dogs" stage, when you start mixing in ligh theory, chemical theory, zone system and (dare I say) technical gadgets, women are put off.

    It's not that they are less intelligent, it's just that IMO, they want to focus on the art aspect, that may also be why pottery, painting and drawing, and sculpturing, is more popular as art directions.

    But, they are still pretty weird though.....
    Last edited by Helinophoto; 01-04-2013 at 05:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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    "Nice picture, you must have an amazing camera."
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  6. #26
    blansky's Avatar
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    In my corner of the photography world, studio /environmental portrait/wedding photography, women are steadily gaining ground in the percentage of professional photographers.

    Back in the 70s, almost ALL photographers were men with women working in retouching and running the studio. Through the years that gradually changed, but with the advent of automatic cameras and digital the number of women has skyrocketed. Today at a professional photography convention, I'd say that 30-40 percent may be women.

    I agree that the gear head aspect was a determining factor in the past, and now with digital it's more of an artistic process, than the physical one that darkroom work entailed. The entire process with digital seems very suited to a woman's sensibilities and interests, and they can cut to the chase in getting to the results they envision.

    I'm not saying they can't in an analog/darkroom context, but that it didn't really suit them. They know what they want and playing with tools is not their main interest but instead a means to an end.

    I will bet that in my field that in 20 years the majority off professionals will be female, working the family/kid and maybe the wedding corner of the market.
    Last edited by blansky; 01-04-2013 at 07:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  7. #27

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    Both of our local photo stores are staffed by an equal number of men and women, and partially owned by women. I also meet a lot of photographers in the field, and I would give women the edge there. On other photo sites my contacts are about 50/50, with the women being far more productive. I don't think they're less into gear, I think they may be less into talking about it. Honestly, I think we tend to assume that we dominate photography and we act like it, and so the places we congregate, and the way we talk about it, can be off-putting to women. I think what I'm saying is that this question is more about us than them.

  8. #28
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    For Men Only

    I don't know why there aren't more women in photography. Things like street photography seem much more accessible to women in many situations, where men are automatically labeled a creep or subjects who naturally go on the defensive and shy away or confront you. Also children, men can't point a camera at or near kids these days without being their immediate family.

  9. #29

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    My wife is a wonderful photographer but she couldn't be bothered yackking about it with folks like us. She only yackks about gear when she wrecks another camera. (Purses are hostile environments for camera gear!) She just shoots and shares and haves a good time... with friends and family, not with strangers on the internet. (She thinks we who spend time on "chat rooms", as she calls these forums, are creepy losers who don't have a real life -- me included!)

  10. #30
    winger's Avatar
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    In the darkroom classes I took at the Danforth Museum School in Framingham, MA in the late 90s/early '00s, the women outnumbered the men in every class (I think I took about 10-12 sessions). In a couple of sessions, the only male was the instructor. In some, there were no males. In a class I took at RISD (also darkroom), there was one guy and 4 women, taught by a woman.

    I can't say I'm completely not into gear, but the end result of the photo is not as dependent on the nitty gritty details of the film/developer combo to me. I see a large number of posts on every photo forum discussing little tiny differences between images that the VAST majority of observers would never notice or care about. I sorta see these things as the "guy" things of photography (I'll admit, I could be wrong).



    But in all seriousness, I think the reason why there are generally fewer women doing photography on a "hard core" basis, is that; While it is a typically creative and artistic profession, you need to master a certain amount of logic and technique.

    Photography can be very technical, especially when you get past the "pretty flowers and dogs" stage, when you start mixing in ligh theory, chemical theory, zone system and (dare I say) technical gadgets, women are put off.

    It's not that they are less intelligent, it's just that IMO, they want to focus on the art aspect, that may also be why pottery, painting and drawing, and sculpturing, is more popular as art directions.
    I'll give some credit if English isn't the first language of the poster, but this sounds EXTREMELY condescending to me. Yeah, I do like technical stuff and I know women are not usually encouraged to do so and to enjoy science, but it has much more of a cultural basis than anything related to true intelligence or the ability to do any of these things.

    BS biology, MS forensic science, 14 years in a casework crime lab (7 in charge of the trace analysis unit) - I am a woman and I like science. I also scored perfect on the GRE logic section.

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