Beauty, as perceived...

by Pino Pino August. 23, 2020 610 views

I was reading a thread in one of my photography groups where they were discussing why there seem to be so many more beauty/sensual photos of women than of men. Discounting pure pornography, the topic, as I read it, focused on images that specifically 'leave something to the imagination' - think 'beauty', 'boudoir' and even general 'fashion' photography.

This, below, was my take on the topic. Even most lighting demonstrations and training sessions focus on two rather distinct lighting goals/objectives/styles(?) for lighting men and verses lighting women.

But I'm curious your thoughts.

Lighting on women is typically softer and accentuates their natural curves while lighting on men is typically harder and accentuates hard angles (think jawline). Even corporate portraits frequently use those two different styles - softening women's faces while intentionally hardening the jawlines of men - and photographers do this because viewers do not ('typically') respond as well to the inverse. Light travels more naturally, more typically pleasingly to the human eye, around curves - uninterrupted by harsh stops and starts. Humans, across the board - "typically", are more drawn to the softer and more fluid contours of the female form. Again, "typically" - the entire genre of chiaroscuro is the contrary of this but is also a niche.
Admittedly, Michelangelo's Vitruvian Man and David are artistic demonstrations but much of his work was related to the study of the mechanics and mathematics of human form. This is a point I've not pondered enough in the short hour since I found the original thread but one that deserves more consideration before I commit to a position in relation to it.
Also, there is certainly an argument for the modern societal impact of the current perspectives on 'what is beauty' (as it relates to [acceptable] [artistic] appreciation(?) of the human form) vs. 'what is porn'. Where does society [currently] draw that line? Again, an area that deserves more consideration.
This was just a test shot for a portrait setup - my son helping me quickly get lights positioned... Admittedly, I always prefer distinct shadows in my shots, but this quick setup shot shows me trying to get his jawline to present a little harder than one typically would if this were female subject.

This was just a test shot for a portrait setup - my son helping me quickly get lights positioned... Admittedly, I always prefer distinct shadows in my shots, but this quick setup shot shows me trying to get his jawline to present a little harder than one typically would if this were female subject.

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Jay Boggess 1 month, 1 week ago

Nice shot of this handsome young man! Great personality, lighting & clarity! Interesting thoughts on nature of beauty!
Always a pleasure, my friend!
+1grinning+1

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
Pino Pino Replied to Jay Boggess 1 month, 1 week ago

Thanks, Jay!

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Pino Pino 1 month, 1 week ago

Always a pleasure, my friend!
+1grinning+1

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
John D 1 month, 1 week ago

I agree with the observations. The “hard” and “soft” lighting usually follows the traditional perspectives of gender. This is one reason why it is so subconsciously arresting, not to say “interesting”, to see the opposite lighting effect done; soft on male and hard on female.

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
Pino Pino Replied to John D 1 month, 1 week ago

Thank you for your thoughts... I agree that 'breaking the rules' has a certain appeal - which is in and of itself an entire area of this topic worth exploration...

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
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