Do men and women take different photos?

Caution: This article is not scientifically substantiated, just my thoughts!

One of the bloggers I follow is Kiki, a talented German photographer and food blogger. She bakes and cooks, and shares the recipes along with gorgeous photos. Her photos are wonderful, and it occurred to me that they have a feminine touch. This got us wondering: What is a feminine, or a masculine photo?

My question for you: Can you tell the difference between men and women in the world of photography? 

Disclaimer: A special thanks to my niece Elianne Bordeaux for letting me use her photos and her feedback on this post! Only the photos without name reference are mine, the others are her photos.

Holland Amerikakade

Holland Amerikakade in Rotterdam, a masculine photo?

Difference between a male and female brain

Did you know that men and women are different? Man are athletic, have great logical reasoning capabilities, have a fine sense of humour, know how to solve problems, and are completely and utterly hopeless without their partner (and mom).

But all kidding aside, according to some studies, men and women do have differently operating brains. Men are able to isolate one issue and block-out excessive information, whereas women look at an issue from a holistic point using all parts of their brain. While ladies are better in multitasking, men are able to focus on one job for a longer period.

One of the biggest differences is the structure of the hypothalamus (I totally knew this word before writing this article – not), the part of the brain that controls sex-drive, aggression and food intake. Which, apparently, is more active in a man’s brain. Scientist also found out that the parietal cortex (used in space perception) is slightly bigger in man’s brain. While the part of our brain responsible for emotions, problem solving and decision-making, is slightly larger in a woman’s brain.

Another big difference is that the male brain has 6,5 times more “grey matter” (a.k.a. thinking matter) than a female brain, yet a female’s brain contains 9,5 times more “white matter” (the matter that connects different parts of the brain).

These differences in the operation and size of our brains, result in different psychology. Ladies have a more developed communication- and emotional system. Men are very result-minded: Go straight to a solution.

Traveling by Eliza Bordeaux.

Traveling by Eliza Bordeaux. The street market, a place for men or women?
www.elizabordeaux.com

Do different sexes take different photos?

But what does this mean in photography (click to read this interesting article)? Again, please note that this is not a scientific research, just some philosophy while drinking a nice whisky.

Rotterdam Harbour

A nice little harbour in Rotterdam.

What they photograph?

Because of the diversity in our brains, we look at the world differently, this could be traceable in the subjects photographed by boys and girls. I think that, while boys shoot very objective images, girls tent to look at a scene “with emotions” and are more inclined to shoot subjects they are emotionally attached to.

In my humble opinion, ladies are also more attracted to subjects they can “nurture”, like children, flowers, and little animals. While men (having a larger part in their brain reserved for aggression) are more attracted to wild landscapes and rough weather.

How they take photos

Our varieties in brain structure result (in my theoretical opinion) in different approaches to photography. Males approach taking a photo, with a very technical perspective (problem solving). A room full of male photographers will result in a lot of “nerd-talk” about aperture and depth of field.

For girls it is easier to let go of the technical dependencies, and use their imagination. I believe that in a room with only female photographers, there will be more conversations about beauty of a photograph, rather than “nerd-talk”.

Girls will remember the emotion they felt when taking a picture, while boys will remember the lens and settings.

Besides, women and men react differently to scenes, because our emotional system is slightly different. That’s why men miss some things a girl would see (and vice versa).

Igreja do Carmo

“Igreja do Carmo” as seen from Rossio square in Lisbon. Exif: 44m, f/14, 1/60 sec shutter speed. On a hot day in a crowded place.

Conclusion

Even though there are differences between men and women, I don’t believe that it is (always) obvious to tell which photo is taken by what gender. But there are some subtle differences in the approach and subjects of photos taken by both sexes. Not limited to the subject, or how they photograph, but also in aspects like how we use colours and contrast.

In this post, I used some photos, taken by me (male) and a female photographer, my talented niece Eliza Bordeaux. A special thanks to my niece for letting me use her photos!

Tell me my dear readers, can you tell what photo is taken by what gender? Or is it not that obvious? What are your thoughts, please share them with us by leaving a comment!

Oh and for those wonder: No, I am not a neuroscientist, I just a “Google” a lot.

Thanks for reading and kind regards,

Tieme

Elianne is Dutch photographer, studying Fine Art (photography) at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. During her study she already works as a professional photographer doing bridal photography and portraits. She already has won several prices for her work.

A Dutch profile video about Elianne Bordeaux shows us her goal: to show beauty, but make people look a second time: because there is something behind beauty.

In the near future she’ll be releasing her website: www.elizabordeaux.com

16 Comments

  1. Reply

    Hello Luvo,

    great subject! I remember our little discussion about this a while ago. And thank you so much for – again! – plugging my blogs!

    There are so many interesting things you point out in your post that made me nod my head while reading and also smile. Regarding the bit about the part of women’s brains responsible for emotions being larger, I can just say that this can be a bit of a curse, and I wish this was more balanced with a bit of the boys’ ability to “remember the lens and setting” instead of what we felt when we took a picture. Because if you remember lenses and settings it’s so much easier to recreate pictures and get consistent results while you wouldn’t be able to do that going by emotions.

    As to your question whether we can “see if a picture was taken by a man or a woman”, I feel like 90 % of the time I can, although I’ve recently encountered lots of flower posts by men, so nothing is 100 % predictable – luckily 🙂 And yet, sometimes even with flower pics you can see whether they were taken by a man or women. I think after reading your post I’ll be more alert and aware and try to see if I can detect what exactly is different.

    By the way, I also feel that men edit their pictures differently. In my perception, men tend to edit the hell out of their pictures (which is not meant negatively!) while women edit more subtly, just enhancing a picture.

    I hope you’ll get a good discussion out of this post, Luvo! I’ll check back in here because I’m really interested to know how other people see this.

    Have a great day!
    Kiki

    • Reply

      Hi Kiki!

      Thank you for your comment! Sure, no worries, we here to help each other 🙂

      Sorry for the late reply, I am struggling with keeping up with WordPress, so little time and so much to do (the never ending story I guess).

      It’s great that I made you smile, it’s not just about learning, but about fun too 😉 Ah yeah, the emotions, complicated for men too, but I can imagine becoming a bit more technical can help your photography. But you could always take a look at your photo’s “exif” (Exchangeable Image File – where the technical data of your photo is stored).

      I think I also am able to tell which gender took a photograph, but I might be mistaken. Should test that 😉

      Hmm, interesting point about the editing! It hasn’t occurred to me, another thing I should look into!

      Hope you have a great Sunday!

      Warm regards,
      Tieme

  2. Reply

    This is a very interesting topic 🙂 I actually haven’t thought about who took the pictures (whether male or female). Usually, I see the identity or the names of the photographer along with the pictures. During events though in our country, I usually see men behind the camera. I do agree with the emotions that are transparent in the image when in the perspective of a woman photographer. I have a classmate who is a professional photographer that shoots for magazine, advertisements and fashion brands. She creates a story and a character for her models or for the brand that builds more relation or some kind of rapport between her, the subject and the resulting photograph. I also agree with not remembering the aperture, ISO, the technical side, though I try my best to do so because it would be easier to determine which settings are for which conditions, but it’s fun experimenting. My sister has a group of friends who loves taking photographs together whether on a trip or after their day job, her friend is a female who has a great eye for composition, imagination and great editing skills. Right now, I suddenly thought about my cousin and her husband, they both love to take pictures just using their iPhone. Her husband works in the field of architecture and has great precision when taking photographs; she on the other hand is not trained on any arts or design but have great captures too and has gained many followers in her IG account than her husband does.
    Thanks for your post, Luvo, I think I would be more curious of the photographs I see from now on.

    • Reply

      Thank you! And to you too: Sorry for the late reply!

      The name can tell a lot, doesn’t it? Except maybe when it is an “unisex name”, or a exotic name 😉

      In The Netherlands, most landscape photographers I meet are men too. But I think there will be more female photographers in the next generation of graduates from art school. That would be interesting.

      Great to see you agree, and that you recognise some of this in your life too. 🙂

      Again, thank you for your reply, quite interesting!

      Have a great day, and see you next time online!

      Cheers,
      Tieme

      • Reply

        My name is recognized as a boy in our country, though it can be a “unisex” name. People still look up to me and think twice if that really is my name.
        That’s nice to hear that there are more female photographers rising in your country 🙂
        Keep up the good work for both male and female photographers out there! It’s nice how we can see different places through different lenses and perspectives captured by the photographers around the globe.

        • Reply

          Oh really? I only know the struggle of people not knowing how to spell my name 😉

          Mixed genders are almost always better. I work in IT and most men behave a bit better when there are ladies around 😉 Yay for diversity 🙂

          Happy Wednesday!
          Tieme

  3. Reply

    Interesting subject… I haven’t thought of this too before… Photograph is a photograph from someone’s eyes… Man or woman… does it make a sense for me? No. I don’t make any difference between them… But yes, I have been learning something from this subject 🙂 Thank you, love, nia

    • Reply

      Hi Nia!

      Thank you for your comment, and thank you for sharing your thoughts. My apologies for the late reply, as being online hasn’t been on my to do list a lot lately 😉

      How beautiful, or the value of a photograph is not determined by the sex of the artist/photographer. But I believe that how the photo is being perceived is partly determined by the gender taking the picture, and/or looking at a picture.

      Again, thank you for your comment 🙂

      Have a great Sunday!

      Warm regards,
      Tieme

  4. Reply

    I am not a photographer, far from it. I don’t know about the various techniques and all. But I look at photographs. According to my understanding, it actually depends on the viewer. How they symbolise the scenery, object or the main theme of the photograph.

    I hope I have put my opinion across and not just rambled away. If so, just say it. 😛

    • Reply

      Hi Devika! Thank you for leaving a comment! 🙂

      Very interesting point of view! How you perceive a photo, might be very much influenced by your gender. You are not rambling at all, the opposite: It is very fresh and inspiring that you look at it from a completely different angle!

      Hope you have a great weekend! And keep up with the great poetry! (check out here page people: https://insight07.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/bitter-sweet).

      Warm regards,
      Tieme

      • Reply

        Um you got my name wrong. Diana was a character in my poem, she was the one writing the letter. I am Devika.
        I hope you have a great weekend ahead! Thank you for linking my post here. 😀

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