The photo blog of Boston.com, called “The Big Picture,” features some fantastic photos. Each post, around a some theme, compiles stunning photography from around the world.
The photos in last week’s post “Scenes from Indonesia” were no less stunning than usual. I was especially taken by the use of an elephant as a frame in the first photo.
Less amazing, however, was the scarcity of women in the photos.
The first photo featuring a woman is No. 28. That’s pretty far down on the list, considering the series ends at 32. It is followed by another shot of women at 31. But these two pictures, along with two shots of children (3 and 27) including those of the female variety, are the only photos of females in the entire post.The Big Picture usually does an excellent job compiling a diverse set of images. So it’s especially hard to believe that the blog couldn’t apply that diversity to the gender of its subjects. Women are in only four of 32 photos — that’s 12.5 percent. At the same time, there are multiple pictures of elephants and orangutans. And many, many photos of men. Men alone, men in groups. Men working, men resting. Men praying, sitting, walking, protesting, smoking, and battling nature. In this photo series, it’s men who represent the world’s most populous Muslim country. The other half of the population doesn’t seem to matter.
On the other hand, the photos avoid a common problem when showing Muslim women: using the women as decoration. None of these photos show women for the sake of their clothes or faces. (An idea TIME could learn from.) Instead, they are active: practicing yoga, collecting rust from the ocean. The Big Picture has the right kind of photos — it just needs more of them.