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Why so few women doing macro?
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Beatsy



Joined: 05 Jul 2013
Posts: 1391
Location: Malvern, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:01 pm    Post subject: Why so few women doing macro? Reply with quote

It does appear to be a male-dominated pursuit - by a very large proportion.
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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
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Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've wondered this myself, and once asked a friend who is a psychologist. He said: "I can't explain it either--but I'd have predicted it."

Same deal with the audiophile community--which I find has a surprising amount of overlap with the macro community.

--Chris S.
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dolmadis



Joined: 07 Dec 2011
Posts: 500
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sir Thomas Browne was an exalted mystic [whose mysticism] owed much to his literary style. Style, in his sense, did not merely mean sound, but an attempt to give some twist of wit or symbolism to every clause or parenthesis; when he went over his work again, he did not merely polish brass, he fitted in gold. This habit of working with a magnifying glass, this turning and twisting of minor words, is the true parent of mysticism; for the mystic is not a man who reverences large things so much as a man who reverences small ones, who reduces himself to a point, without parts or magnitude, so that to him the grass is really a forest and the grasshopper a dragon. Little things please great minds.

-G.K. Chesterton, The Little Things, from The Speaker, December 15th, 1900.
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
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Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dopamine.
Men are more visually-stimulated than women.
Psychs (some!) say that "Seeking" and "Lust" systems are both part of Freud's "Libido". Men's motivational pathways have more connections to the subcortical reward system than women's.
An active Seeking system is antithetical to depression, and good levels of testosterone are associated with enhanced intelligence and mental longevity.

So it's a natural instinct, and it's OK, as long as you keep it under control, even if your wife only calls it "playing". Very Happy
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hero



Joined: 17 Jul 2017
Posts: 42
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't speak for the motivations of others, but I can speak for my own experience and why I enjoy macrophotography.

As a preface, I should note that most people, irrespective of gender, who have seen my work, although fascinated and impressed, do not themselves express an interest in doing the same type of photography.

To me, it seems to stem from a desire to reveal some aspect of the natural world which is not easily perceived or seen, and in the process, inspire wonder. Secondary to this motivation is the appeal of the peculiar synergy of the artistic and technical aspects of such photography: the challenges intrinsic to selecting the proper camera settings and equipment, the use of computational processing techniques such as focus stacking, and the way these play a role in the resulting aesthetics of the image, provides an artistic environment that is rich with reward and satisfaction.

A common theme in my artistic endeavors is my lifelong fascination with mathematics, specifically geometry; and in this regard, macrophotography has much to offer. I find the discussion of geometric optics to be interesting, as well as the geometry of the subjects I choose to photograph. Previously, I photographed small lifeforms--mostly insects, but also plant structures; presently, my focus is on mineral specimens as collecting and studying these are fascinating in their own right. Thus I find the interdisciplinary nature of these pursuits--the exposition of geology, chemistry, entomology, physics--to be mind-expanding.
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Beatsy



Joined: 05 Jul 2013
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Location: Malvern, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hero wrote:
I can't speak for the motivations of others...

Well you actually got uncannily close to mine... Shocked

ChrisR - Interesting 'tech' answer. Sounds feasible. I make no pretense though, it's all playing. Anything this much fun just has to be!

dolmadis - I love the tail end of that quote. I'm doing a macro presentation at a camera club soon (another one, not mine). I am definitely working that into the intro screen! Perfect! Thanks. I'm a mystic now!! Very Happy

ChrisS - it's the same with metal detecting, chess, mountain biking and astrophotography in my direct experience. Perhaps the difference (in participation) extends to hobbies and interests in general - just to varying degrees in different 'genres'?
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ChrisR
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alice Roberts maintains that behavioural dimorphisms are entirely learned, not anatomical. That's a bit ambiguous because we're born with our ancestors' learned behaviour, coded into our epigenetics. I dunno, but I suspect hormones play a part in ways yet to be worked out.
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anoldsole



Joined: 27 Feb 2018
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:53 am    Post subject: Bugs Reply with quote

I think a big part of the reason is that a large portion of subjects we shoot are insects. Even if you don't take pictures of bugs, you will still have to look at many detailed pictures of them as you learn. Most of the women I know have a fair strong "ewww bugs!" response, especially at high magnification!
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Beatsy



Joined: 05 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Bugs Reply with quote

anoldsole wrote:
I think a big part of the reason is that a large portion of subjects we shoot are insects. Even if you don't take pictures of bugs, you will still have to look at many detailed pictures of them as you learn. Most of the women I know have a fair strong "ewww bugs!" response, especially at high magnification!

I have a one-word rebuttal. Diapers! Laughing Razz
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hero



Joined: 17 Jul 2017
Posts: 42
Location: California

PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Bugs Reply with quote

anoldsole wrote:
I think a big part of the reason is that a large portion of subjects we shoot are insects. Even if you don't take pictures of bugs, you will still have to look at many detailed pictures of them as you learn. Most of the women I know have a fair strong "ewww bugs!" response, especially at high magnification!


Many men have the same reaction--even myself from time to time. Aversion to small insects is extremely common and evolutionary biologists posit that humans evolved this reflex as a defense mechanism against venomous or parasitic arthropods.

That said, in my own experience, this feeling of revulsion is something that is scale-dependent: If I see a small insect with the naked eye, that's what triggers the "ewww" reflex. But if I see the same creature at, say, 5-10x magnification, it becomes much more interesting and somehow less threatening.

More broadly, I don't necessarily believe that macrophotography's association with insect photography furnishes a substantial reason why there is a gender imbalance in macrophotography, since you could claim that macrophotography is also associated with a genre that we might stereotype as being of more interest to women--flower photography.

If we were to deal in stereotypes--and as reluctant as I am to do so--I would say that the gender imbalance has something to do with the high degree of technicality of macrophotography. It is based in the same underlying reasons why there are fewer women in scientific disciplines. As to what those specific reasons might be, I can't really say, but to be clear, it is not that I think women are not capable of or not interested in highly technical pursuits. For instance, there are numerous hobbies that are predominantly practiced by women that I consider extremely technical and non-trivial: needlecrafts, for example. So rather, I suspect it is about the different kind of values--i.e., how do we measure our own sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in our hobbies?
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MarkSturtevant



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 383

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the opinion that the answer is related to similar questions like why so few men choose to work in primary education or in nursing.
There was a large study done about a year ago which asked why there were fewer women in STEM programs (science, technology, engineering, math). By following a large # of girls over a period of many years, and by interviewing them, the central conclusion of the study was because they are simply less likely to be interested in those subjects. The finding that I am describing seems aligned with views described above.
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 601
Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But how would you know? Not posting here isn't the same as not doing it.

I'm the only Black person I know doing macro. But I'm also the only Black person I know who's doing photography with a camera and not a phone. On the other hand, it's undeniable that other Black people are doing serious photography, just from Youtube. Similarly, there are female macrophotographers on Youtube and elsewhere.

I have no doubt that there are lots of people doing macro who are effectively invisible to strangers.

We're a niche of a niche of a niche.
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tpe



Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 478
Location: Copenhagen Denmark

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In biological sciences at least there tend to be more women until postdoc level, and then the ratios tend to reverse. Therefore perhaps the dearth has less to do with the biology of insect pics, but the artistic side.

There was a theory that there were more male artists, and that art was an expression of ability, and therefore a way to attract mates. That it was something similar to the peacocks tail, and a form of sexual selection, to be able to have the time and energy to devote to making something useless as the great masters did and still be able to get enough food etc.

I can see that when i am lying in 3 cm of water and mud with my bottom in the air trying to juggle my camera out of the mud while flicking mosquitoes of my sweating brow i probably look as if i am doing something useless and at great cost, but i am not sure it would be especially attractive to potential mates?
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TheDocAUS



Joined: 19 Jul 2018
Posts: 30
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because bugs appeal more to men than women Wink
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johan



Joined: 06 Sep 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In talking with people I get the impression that blokes are more nerdy, like playing with apparatus and gear (camera gadgets), and also lots of girls go ewwwwwww when I show them photos. Might have some bearing
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