November 30, 2021

When the Woman is Taller – Redwood Couple Photos

When the woman is taller.

So I often I see FB photography group posts on this topic. How do I photograph the couple to make it look like she isn’t? What are the tips and tricks and best poses and prompts people ask.

But first I just want to say – wait, hold up. Did your couple ask you to make it look this way? If so, absolutely ask, proceed, and do so. Gather all of the advice that you can and try your best. But if they didn’t – why are we assuming that they want him to look taller than her?

There is a long-standing pattern within the photography community to fall into heteronormative and gendered assumptions. To have a default pose for the ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’, and to assign those roles without knowing anything about the couple you’re working with in particular. Anything other than their appearance that is.

These assumptions can be damaging to queer people, of course, but they impact the way that we interact with straight couples whose personalities and bodies may not fit within the so-seen ‘norm’. And that is arguably why when I posted these photos online I got such a large and outspoken reaction.

Because people rarely see photos when the woman is taller. And shown to be so.

Representation is so fucking important. 

Yes, I fully believe cursing is needed because this topic can’t be overstated. In film, in each profession, in portfolios. Representation in each and every faction of society is so vital, because it impacts how people see themselves and how the world sees them too.

I worked for Boys and Girls Club at the Africa Centre in Edmonton when Black Panther came out. I can’t even begin to describe how many days I discussed Black Panther before it even came out, and how many hours I spent talking about it after. Because the kids were that dang excited, and having a Black superhero and modern representation of Africa was that revolutionary to them. Despite most of the kids being under the age it was reccommended they be to see it, their parents all took them – so excited to give them the representation they never had.

It wasn’t just a simple film. It changed feelings of self-worth and self-confidence. It altered our conversations about hair and fashion and beauty. It produced unmatched Black kid joy. ONE movie did all that. 

And with each new moment of representation – each new movie and image and publication — we get to do those things all over again for a new group of kids.

I think about little girls like me who would have been so well served to see women my size living full lives and being loved. I think about how Simu Liu in the continued evolution of Marvel representation is changing the lives of Asian kids all over Canada and the world. 

And then we have this session, which I never would have guessed would have had such a reaction. 

When I posted these images to a few photographer’s FB groups, I had countless people reach out to say how much joy it brought them to see a relationship depicted where the woman was the taller one in the relationship, and images that didn’t make an effort to hide that. All saying that they never see photos of people that look like them featured – all fueled by societal-built insecurity and heteronormativity.

For all the kids today and for all our inner-children who really needed it – representation is so fucking important. We all deserve to feel loved and beautiful and important. 

We all deserve to be seen.

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