Emotional Portraits Show What Real Men Cry And Real Women Laugh Like

We all know the phrase "boys don't cry" – not just as the 1999 movie or Frank Ocean's independent record label, but as a common preconception attached to male emotions. On the other side of the spectrum, however, are women constantly being told to "smile" by gross catcallers standing on corners of the street...

From whichever way you look, it seems like no one is ever enough.

Twenty-year-old Utrecht-based photographer Maud Fernhout, decided to tackle this absurdity in her thought-provoking projects What Real Women Laugh Like and What Real Men Cry Like.


(Photo: Maud Fernhout)


(Photo: Maud Fernhout)

Fernhout says she started practicing photography about two years ago. Maud says her goal was always to address social issues and make people think, and as a true feminist at heart she felt the objectification and one-dimensional portrayal of women should be at the core of her work.

Fernhout tells Konbini:


"I wanted to photograph real, everyday women to show what we actually look like. I soon came up with the idea of women 'laughing out loud,' to oppose the stiff / emotionless look we often see on models with one full of character and individuality."


Her idea was supported by the fact that laughing openly still faces a stigma and leads to girls laughing with their hands over their faces. Consequently, the laughing girls project lead Fernhout to explore a counter side of emotions, such as crying, in men.


(Photo: Maud Fernhout)


(Photo: Maud Fernhout)

The people portrayed in these emotional photographs are Maud's friends, her fellow students and their friends. The photographer admits one of the most intriguing questions she's been asked about the series is "how do you get the men to cry?" Fernhout shares with Konbini:


"First, I'd try to calm the nerves by giving them a cup of tea and just talking with them – about the project, about whether they thought of ways to cry, whether they had questions, but also just about school or other unrelated topics.

After a while, we'd move to the set. Every shoot was different, but general techniques included listening to music, watching videos, just sitting in silence, or talking about emotional things in their lives."


Maud admits that just for the sake of reaching some tears, she had onions ready to be sliced. Which we know might sound like a deal breaker, but really wasn't – the photographer admits onions helped a whole lot in pushing genuine tears out of her subjects' eyeballs.

Check out more from the series below and be sure to visit Maud's website for some great photography work.


(Photo: Maud Fernhout)


(Photo: Maud Fernhout)


(Photo: Maud Fernhout)


(Photo: Maud Fernhout)


(Photo: Maud Fernhout)

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By Justina Bakutyte, published on 16/09/2016