Conflict in Afghanistan: This intimate portrait of coal miner Pul i Khumri was taken by Steve McCurry in 2007.
Do Men and Women Take Different Photos?
By Kerrie Mitchell January 2009
At the International center of Photography in New York last year, Associate Curator Kristen Lubben found herself talking a lot about a timeless subject: the differences between men and women. She was co-curating part of an exhibit of photos of the Spanish Civil War by Robert Capa and Gerda Taro. The two had been lovers and professional partners at that early point in their careers. While Capa went on to become one of the 20th century's most renowned war photographers, Taro died in 1937 at age 26, after being struck by a tank.
"We had Taro upstairs and Capa downstairs," says Lubben. "It was an interesting test case for some people—do men and women take different pictures? As I gave tours of the exhibition, I was constantly asked about it."
Such fascination makes sense. Gender is an endlessly debatable topic. The debate gets fiercer when it turns to boys-versus-girls. And the stakes get higher as more women take up cameras.
Of course, women have always been a force in photography. Yet in recent years, photo programs have seen a steady rise in the number of female students in everything from advertising to art to photojournalism. At top schools such as the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, women now outnumber men. But do they take different kinds of pictures?
"The perception of what you're asking is: Who makes better pictures?" says Dennis Keeley, chair of photography and imaging at the Art Center. "Nobody. Better pictures are made by better photographers. That is not gender-driven, except we have a society that's gender-divided. In discussing these things, it's not the answers—it's the questions." Read more ...
McCurry also shot this portrait of a boy selling oranges in the street of Kabul in 2003.
Villagers and mujahedeen fighters with their weapons were photographed by Deborah Copaken Kogan in Sanglakh, Afghanistan, in February 1989.
New York City: Children play with pieces of a broken mirror from a car abandoned on Dodworth Street, Brooklyn, in 1999, where Brenda Ann Kenneally photographed the life of her block.
In a shantytown in 1986, Fred—just returned from prison—cries as he greets former girlfriend Rose. Eugene Richards included this photo in his 1987 book, Below the Line: Living Poor in America.
War in Europe: Covering the Spanish Civil War in 1937, Gerda Taro photographed two Republican soldiers carrying another in the Navacerrada Pass.