On photography and being girlie

Anyone remembers the palm? Nowadays an Ipod/Iphone works just as wellFollowing on Tim Gander’s comment “…fluffy issues of how to look pretty with a pretty camera strap” , it begs the question – does being a serious photographer means avoiding looking pretty? Does a preference or use of “pretty”, “cute”, “girlie” items are  synonym of a lack of professionalism? Are “feminine” or “girlie” actions or attributes  (wearing make up,  long/loose hair) indicative of a lack of skill, commitment, seriousness? Does women need to negate or diminish feminine aspects of themselves to be seen as more professional?

Rigorous dress codes are well-known in corporate environments that are male-dominated. Women have to pay attention on how they dress to convey a certain image of professionalism, which also involves a good deal of negating their sexuality. I don’t know if a man has ever worried if their pants were too tight or if they chest showed through their shirt. Are their shoes too sexy? Does their hair look too glamorous? Do they need to re-do their roots?

I remember once in a Microeconomics class during my MBA I was taking some notes from the white board with a pink-ink ballpoint pen. My teacher looked at my notes and said, shrugging *his* shoulders:  “Pink!” as if saying, of course, what else to expect. Made me wonder if a calculation made with pink ink had less value, if it was less serious or plain silly by being worked out with a pink ink. What a sad thought.

But surely a creative profession would be different, isn’t it? I remember an art teacher, from my high-school years, wearing yellow socks with his suit. Wow, how cool would it be to be in a profession where you are allowed to dress as you feel. That will remain a mystery to me as I haven’t pursued a “creative profession” but in my dreams being a freelancer artist would be something of a Carrie Bradshaw-like fantasy – spending lots of time with friends, shopping for nice little things, going to nice places for lunch and drinks, never repeating a single dress yet living in a tiny studio in New York.

From what I gather reality, as usual, doesn’t follow the script and being a professional photographer is very much like other liberal professions, where you spend more time running after bills to collect and bills to pay, working long, odd hours and all in flat, neutral looking shoes.

At least Todd doesn’t need to worry about what to wear.

All illustrations and photo by @lau_merritt

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3 Comments on “On photography and being girlie”

  1. Glass Eye says:

    Thank you again for you insights, Lau. These are interesting questions and while I wouldn’t begrudge anyone dressing however they like I suppose it is very much horses for courses.

    By that I mean that a photographer, male or female can dress as they wish, but if fashion and looks override practicality then this might impare the photographer’s ability to do their job. Sometimes the nature of the job will require that all thoughts of fashion or even prettiness will have to be set aside. This can apply to both sexes.

    I do think some male photographers still struggle to take women photographers seriously and of course this is their (the male photographers) problem, but I think magazines like Pix reinforce an unhelpful stereotype.

    • laumerritt says:

      Some people might say that I’m unable to give an straight answer (and have already told me so), but there are so many things to say in response to your comment. This phrase in particular keeps me thinking.

      “…thoughts of fashion or even prettiness will have to be set aside. This can apply to both sexes.”

      I will reply with another post. Feel free to ignore. At least gives me something to post about and use my blog more often than once a year.

      • Glass Eye says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s a particular way to dress that is right or wrong, but some situations require sensible clothing. Maybe sensible clothing can be feminine and fashionable too?

        I’m glad something I said inspired someone else to write 😉


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