Jill Greenberg officially took herself off everyone’s list with that little stunt she pulled with outtakes from her McCain cover shoot for The Atlantic (I’m talking about all the photoshopping not the “lit from below” picture which felt like a nice try but not quite there) and made it a little more difficult for Photo Editors to get someone new and untested past the editor and more importantly the publicist.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about Mark Tucker has links to all the coverage and several questions of his own (here).

It’s the publicists who usually vet the photographers and if you’ve ever looked at a celebrity or political picture and thought “the most interesting thing about that picture is the person in it” that’s because safety is more important than creating something visually exciting. The challenge for Photo Editors has always been getting interesting photographers past the publicists because they always google them or come with a pre-approved list just to make certain the photographer will not do something unflattering or controversial. So, I’m shocked that the McCain camp approved her given the “candy and crying children” controversy that’s not much more than a google click away (well, it used to be a google click away…) but I’m guessing that The Atlantic didn’t seem to pose much of a threat so there was no background check on the photographer.

Hit pieces in magazines are not unusual, but it’s usually the writers that are the one’s waiting till the shoot is in the can, the fact-checking mostly done and then they can finally ring the subject up and start asking hard questions. What’s unusual here is that Jill went off and did it on her own without letting the magazine know what she was up to. Usually the magazine is involved in these kinds of decisions if not directing them in the first place. So, I can pretty much guarantee she’s not interested in getting hired anymore to do “the monkey light” and really just wants to be known as someone who manipulates. Even if some Photo Editor wanted to hire her now they wouldn’t get her past the editor let alone the publicist.

The Atlantic unfortunately got burned in the whole deal but there’s no way to know when someone is going to go rogue on you and if it ever happened in the past nobody would even know about it. The 2 week embargo seems unusual to me and it’s likely a function of The Atlantic wanting really badly to do something interesting in a very crowded newsstand and allowing Jill Greenberg to lay down the rules on what it would take for her to shoot a cover (at which point I would expect a photographer to tell me they hate the person they’re about to photograph and might not be the best choice for this assignment). If I’d been the Photo Editor in that situation I would be looking for a new job because I would have had to convince the editor to take a chance on a first time cover shooter for the magazine with very little political experience and on top of it get them to reduce the embargo to 2 week for outtakes.

Ultimately I don’t think she’s suddenly screwed it all up for photographers everywhere because shoots of this nature are almost always closely watched by the publicists, the terms with the magazine are exclusive and publishing outtakes from a cover shoot will land you in court

This was a very deliberate act by a photographer who knew she was going to get blackballed by publicists and make herself un-hireable in the editorial world to make a political statement or maybe she just wanted to remove herself from the editorial world in a dramatic way because in the end who but clients visits a photographers portfolio site and if you’re tired of having clients and working with publicists and just want to make art then this is one way to do it.

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  1. She sees dollar signs… I suspect that there are a lot of hardcore leftist ad agency art directors that will want to work with her because of this, which makes the loss of the editorial market no concern.

    I also bet the average photographer is going to get a lot more requests to “look through the camera” and show every shot on the spot, even for ordinary subjects.

  2. The pathetic thing about her approach is that there’s no subtlety. Pure bombast, to me, is pretty much counterproductive. As an editorial photographer I get assigned photograph people whose views I don’t agree with. I also, occasionally, photograph people who treat me poorly.

    In these situations I feel that it’s totally within my rights to produce an photo that reflects my opinion or, in the case of people who treat me poorly, produce an image that takes that into account.

    I believe, though, in doing it fair and square. I let the person hang themselves. I’d never use bad light or Photoshop. I use the edit, pick the frame that represents the person and my opinion. It’s not that difficult. Then I talk to the person who initially assigned me to let them know that, in my opinion, the shot(s) I’ve indicated best reflect the person/juju at the shoot. After that my power disappears. I understand that my agenda and the magazine’s agenda may not be the same.

    The way Greenberg approached this just seems stupid to me. Not subtle. When you whisper people listen more closely. When you yell they just turn off.

    Unless, of course, she was (like APE suggests) in a conspiracy of one to eliminate editorial from her workload. Still, there may be better (read: more ethical) ways of going about this.


  3. It’s one thing to express ones opinion with a little humor. It’s an entirely different situation when you manipulate your Client and the Subject. I can respect someone’s opinion if it is well thought out but not when it is vented in such a ugly, mean spirited and personal manner.


  4. She calls herself The Manipulator. She has stated that her crying children photos speak towards the Bush Administration. While she did a stupid and damaging thing (for the industry), The Atlantic can hardly be surprised that this happened.

    In fact, given their recent financial troubles, my guess is that they were looking for some controversy.

  5. Sorry, but I think this is a brilliant move by one of the more exciting photographers in recent history. Advertising, Editorial, Commercial – it’s all been reduced to bland, uninteresting compositions by Art Directors who are unwilling to take creative risks in the down economy.

    Nice to see Jill pushing boundaries and stirring the pot. While perhaps her methods were unconventional, I hope the end result is more photographers taking those kind of creative risks.

  6. Career Suicide.

  7. Her website should be http://www.asshole.com, not http://www.manipulator.com.

    I think a McCain/Palin administration would drive us even further into the economic morass we’re in now, but it’s not a political ideology thing, it’s a professionalism thing.

    I frequently commission ad jobs and it’s about giving a client an image which meets their needs, not your own egotistical, self-indulgent whims.

    And posting the images on your website in a libelous way is simply not smart, nor is it productive to further your political ends (unless you want to generate sympathy for the GOP).

  8. @ 5. Timothy Gray: I might agree if it had been done at the shoot and not in post. Where’s the creativity in that?

  9. If she was trying to make a political statement i think she failed because, like Rob said, the photoshopped shark teeth and blood makes Mccain look like a victim and not the bad person she is trying to show.
    Anyway i think she is a smart business woman and i am sure she knows what she is doing, the pics are still up and she didn’t apologize so she meant to do that and she must have a reason for it. As far as damaging the business, i agree with Rob, it’s gonna be hard for new photographers to get an assignment, the more established ones(Platon etc.) have a body of work and integrity that speak on their behalf.

  10. The Atlantic was right to expect a reasonable level of professionalism when they hired Greenberg. Greenberg’s poor behavior and lack of tolerance is one thing, but the pain that her “art” has caused others is equal to the vile behavior of win at all costs politics.

    Her actions benefited no one with one possible exception; She may see career benefits in the long term. However, whatever she gains she stole from us. The whole thing is grotesque.

    Full disclosure: I’m an Obama Supporter.

  11. I have rather mixed feelings about this controversy. As a photographer I’m frightened of any resulting industry-wide ramifications. However, as a citizen I’m pleased to see somebody risk their career to forcefully communicate what they believe.

    What Greenberg did was sneaky and unfair to McCain, but McCain is a politician who is certainly not beneath being sneaky and unfair to obtain what he desires. When McCain does so a nation (or more) can suffer. Greenberg is “just” an artist/photographer. Nobody is going to die as a result of her “art”.

    Greenberg clearly has extremely strong anti-McCain feelings. In a sense I feel that it would be criminal for her to repress those feelings in order to maintain a good standing among potential employers. Art is her outlet. She has made a brazen move, but she has made a move while so many others are so often afraid to do so. Fear of career loss and reprisals paralyze many.

    Others have done far worse to photos of McCain (and others) without anybody thinking too much about it. It’s political satire. Greenberg, however, used her commissioned photographs and did so in conjunction with the commercial use of the assignment.

    I think that the root of the problem is not the artistic statement that she created from commissioned photos, it’s that she gleefully communicated that she intended to be sneaky while photographing McCain. If she had taken the shots from the photo shoot and decided to alter them after the shoot without relating her resulting artistic statement to The Atlantic, then I’d probably be fine with it. But she went to the photo shoot with an agenda not endorsed by The Atlantic and then tied that agenda of hers to the photo shoot and The Atlantic. That’s unprofessional. If I were a photo editor wishing to hire a controversial photographer the contract would stipulate that the photographer could not use the name of the publication in connection with the assignment and photos without authorization.

  12. Isnt this a take on the Arnold Newman Krupp portrait

    Its partly explained in an interview here


    there seems huge differences in the details and the noteriety of the subject the attitude of the photographer, very up front with his attitude
    and even the magazine

    But it seems possible that this is where it comes from

  13. Hey Rob, thanks for blogging on this one. I was curious to hear your take on it.

  14. What can we say that hasn’t already been said a hundred times already.

    @Timothy Grey, other photographers WON’T be able to take “risks” like these because of what she’s done. She has ruined it for everyone. I can just see celebrity handlers wanting to inspect every image we shoot now, looking over our shoulders, etc.

    And for crying out loud, can we PLEASE not bring John McCain, Obama or anyone else into this. No one deserves this kind of treatment and if this thread turns into a McCain is the devil or Obama sucks forum, we are all the worse for it.

    If I want to see grown men and women argue about politics I can go somewhere else.

    Leave your politics out of this. This is about Jill and what she’d done, not how any presidential candidate will run or ruin the country.

  15. I’m with #11 (Jeff)

    America is in one hell of a mess at the moment, you have a president who is a utter ****, a series of candidates who just don’t really give you that feeling of confidence and the press who are so shit scared of actually taking a pot-shot, they tow the party line and report on what they are told.

    So Jill acted a little out of order, but guess what, she has got everyone talking, everyone now REALLY knows her name and people finally might get to see that you can poke fun at these muppets who pretend to have the views of the people in their heart.

    I respect her for actually standing by her views, unlike many others who feel that earning a buck means you have to push those views apart.

    Yes you are a photographer, but if you look at the god-awful mess that America currently faces, wouldn’t it be nice if other people actually stood up and said their views?

    Think about it…

  16. This is a great subject to discuss Rob, but after seeing the downward spiral on the PDN blog regarding this, I would hope everyone here can keep on the subject of photography ethics, and not political beliefs.
    A tall order, I know, but we are professionals.

  17. @Daniel, please stop it. I can only say that someone had done this to Obama you would think quite differently and would be saying this was the “typical republican hate machine.”

    you know that to be true so let’s stop the political trash talk. PLEASE!!!!!

  18. she’s just rocketed her self to iconic status. Greenberg will be in every photo ethics text book etc…
    Bravo! She has balls, which is what most photogs lack.
    I personally believe that most people on this site are not qualified to judge this matter. Most are no where near her star power. Rest assured, for every newsweek/Men’s Journal cover she lost , she’ll gain an Italian Vogue/V spread. And I don’t think that she’ll lose the Dexter account for Showtime.

    I place the blame solely on the shoulders of the Atlantic. No one approved the cover? Did they want a straight up shot of McCane just “touched up” with her filters? Or did they turn a blind eye to go with the controversy to sell mags (this one will disappear from the shelves). They should be kissing Greenberg’s ass. She’s put them on the mainstream map. She does what artists are supposed to do. If you hire Terry Richardson, you’re gonna get Terry Richardson. He has made an awesome living making a mockery of the whole process.

    As for her having an effect on the photo-world as a whole. Please. If you shoot sunset shots, you’ll still get your Parade/AARP/wedding/stock work. It’s not as if the photo editor/wedding planner is going to worry about getting shots of your ass or something.
    They knew what they were doing when they hired her.

  19. So how does a talented up-and-comer with no bias except toward making world-class photos take advantage of this situation?

  20. Actually no i wouldn’t , i don’t trust any politicians. They all end up lying…

    The fact still remains, Jill won’t be selling all her kit and getting a job pouring coffee. Her name is all over the place because of this, the fact remains she has done a pretty good job at marketing herself.

    Tell me David, would you stand up for your beliefs?

  21. Wow – what a bunch of suck-ups.

    The only reason you could possibly be upset by her actions is if you think McCain would just be a *super* president and people should stop picking on him.

    Otherwise, why isn’t the image fair game?

    I haven’t seen any indication that Greenberg’s actions violated any agreement with the Atlantic. If they are so concerned that their pretty cover shot might somehow be tainted by___another image___ taken by the same photographer at the shoot, why don’t they insist on owning _all_ of the images from the shoot?

    I mean, John McCain did call his wife a cunt. Why is the person who points that out the “bad guy”?

  22. as to the Rep/Dem. debate. Knock it off. It has nothing to do with this thread and you know it. Sure she was a Dem. The Reps. pull this stuff all the time.
    Doctored photos of rival journalists? Referring to Obama’s professional and classy wife as his “baby momma?” Nice. for what it’s worth it’s about time the crying Republicans got a taste of their own methods.

  23. @ Jeremy.
    They can’t. they CAN make their own work until they reach the status of someone like Greenberg. THEN they can pretty much do what they want ;)

  24. this is a tough one. i see both sides. but i have a certain amount of respect for Jill. I mean, she did what everyone is scared to do. And she can do it, because guess what, she makes more money than all of us. I doubt she was worried about going out of business. I mean, look at her client list. It’s a shame, that the only people can even attempt to make this kind of statement need to have a lot of money to back themselves up. Love or hate what she did, she did it!

  25. Can someone explain the details of the “two week embargo”? I don’t understand this term, despite having read several different articles and blogs about this incident. Thanks.

  26. I see no creativity or imagination behind the “manipulation”. It’s like shooting someone in the back: the act is cowardly and the larger, desired result is ineffectual.
    This whole story is flat-out bizarre. Good luck to her, and I think we can all comfortably move along.

  27. Greenberg just launched herself in a new direction.
    The Atlantic issue will sell a lot more copies – and is going to go down in history.
    John McCain just got more free publicity, as well as new grist for the anti-media platform his party is already famous for.

    Will other editorial photographers be affected negatively?
    That remains to be seen. Aren’t their hands already tied in so many ways? Arent they already under the thumb of overly controlling publicists and editors?

    The only downside I can clearly see at this point is what APE mentioned: Photo Editors will be that much more leary about hiring an unknown who isn’t totally vetted. But isn’t that already the case a lot of the time?

    There are a lot of ethical considerations to weigh here certainly. Professionally Greenberg just offed herself with the established elite. But up and comers and their reps purposely look for edge so maybe in that group, her work is going to take on a new allure.

    I think it’s interesting that a lot of people hate the current system. But anytime someone attempts to change it, people’s first reaction is to get irate and fearful.

    Time will tell what the fallout is really gonna be.

  28. John, Barack, Joe who? The Greenberg controversy pales in comparison to all things Palin. The American people aren’t particularly outraged over this. They’re not even overly interested. They want pics of Sarah Palin, manipulated and otherwise… perhaps especially of the manipulated variety.

    Not even the “C” word coming out of a prospective president’s mouth seems able to trump that.

  29. I’ll be honest, i’ve always found it weird when an american uses the C word, it just doesn’t sound right :0)

  30. I agree with David @ 17 – if this becomes a political discussion the point is lost. I’m definitely NOT on the fence politically but it doesn’t mean that I should condone dispicable behavior such like those who advance their cause at all cost.

    So, deception is OK if it’s for your own cause? Should we all revere an artist who comes to her fame [or infamy] dishonestly? I’m far from edgy but I feel ripped off by Greenberg. As far as I’m concerned, she stole a small part of my profession’s dignity and it will take a while before we get it back.

  31. @3 – “I can respect someone’s opinion if it is well thought out but not when it is vented in such a ugly, mean spirited and personal manner.”

    Oh – you must be referring to Sarah Palin’s speech at the Republican National Convention.

    @5 – Whoever you are, I like you.

    @6 – “Career Suicide.”

    Hardly. I had a lengthy conversation last night with a DOP of a publication that Jill has shot for. She said this would never prevent her from hiring Jill again. In fact, she thinks the reactions are kind of silly. I do know that Jill received several e-mails from photo editors yesterday that said “you rock” and similar sentiments. She also received over 100,000 hits on her website yesterday and she ranked #6 yesterday on Google trend.

    @7 -“I frequently commission ad jobs and it’s about giving a client an image which meets their needs, …”

    And that’s exactly what she did. She delivered a cover image that the client was very happy with. She was smart enough to negotiate a two week embargo and then waited two weeks before doing anything with the photos.

    “And posting the images on your website in a libelous way is simply not smart, nor is it productive to further your political ends (unless you want to generate sympathy for the GOP).”

    The captions on her images are all true and documented, therefore not libelous. John McCain did refer to his wife as c**t in front of reporters; he cheated on his bed-ridden first wife who had life-threatening injuries – that’s how he met Cindy – he picked her up in a bar. Jill is putting a new image/caption up on her website every day. Yesterday, she had the shadowy image with the caption “I’ll have my girl kill Roe v. Wade. Sarah Palin has made it clear that overturning Roe v. Wade would be a major priority; today she has a portrait with a Martin Luther King quote “Darkness is only driven out with light, not more darkness.” The bottom of the page reads “McCain voted against MLK Day.” Isn’t he just swell?!

    @8 – “I might agree if it had been done at the shoot and not in post. Where’s the creativity in that?”

    That’s a pretty broad statement. It’s no coincidence that her url is manipulator.com. Just because it isn’t done in-camera does not make in non-creative.

    @9 – “…the pics are still up and she didn’t apologize so she meant to do that and she must have a reason for it. ”

    Her reason is because she is sickened, as myself and others are at what has been happening and will continue to happen in this country should the Republicans maintain control.

    @10 – “However, whatever she gains she stole from us. ”

    As one who knows Jill quite well, this was not her intention. She felt she had to do this.

    @11 – “What Greenberg did was sneaky and unfair to McCain, but McCain is a politician who is certainly not beneath being sneaky and unfair to obtain what he desires. When McCain does so a nation (or more) can suffer. Greenberg is “just” an artist/photographer. Nobody is going to die as a result of her “art”.

    Exactly. So she didn’t tell him she was going to bring out his true personality. She’s not the first photographer to do this. She just happened to do it with a presidential candidate and manipulated the imagery so that the message is political. Artists have been doing this since the beginning of time. I suspect that won’t change – at least I hope it doesn’t.

    “Greenberg, however, used her commissioned photographs and did so in conjunction with the commercial use of the assignment.”

    As stated earlier, it was only a two week embargo and she waited until that period was up.

    “And for crying out loud, can we PLEASE not bring John McCain, Obama or anyone else into this. No one deserves this kind of treatment and if this thread turns into a McCain is the devil or Obama sucks forum, we are all the worse for it.”

    That would be impossible in this case because McCain was the motivating factor in this entire thing. I think this country has had enough political correctness.
    It is shocking how rapid the decline has been from where we once were. Maybe people aren’t recognizing what it really means that Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros. no longer exist. Americans have been playing dead for the last eight years and I have great admiration for Jill for putting this stuff out there.

    @17 – “I can only say that someone had done this to Obama you would think quite differently and would be saying this was the “typical republican hate machine.”

    This has been done. How about the waffle box at the RNC depicting Obama as a male Aunt Jemima? How about the New Yorker cover illustration depicting Obama as Osama Bid Laden and his wife as a gun toting Black Panther?

    You will most likely not agree, but any man who would display such total contempt for the electorate by putting Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the Presidency, especially when that man is in his 70’s and has battled melanoma four times, deserves this and more.

    @18 – “They should be kissing Greenberg’s ass. She’s put them on the mainstream map.”

    You bet. The Atlantic has a circulation rate of 425,000 and they’re being spoken about on national news. They must think it’s Christmas. On another note, the editor of The Atlantic, who just yesterday said they were looking into a possible lawsuit against Jill, was back on Fox News today with a softened position. Probably because there is no legal action for them to take. On the contrary, they are using Jill’s image, but haven’t paid her yet. Now, that’s illegal.

  32. Debra – I’m sure Jill is a nice person and her intention was to advance the cause of truth and the American way but, IMHO. she just screwed up this time and owes us something.

  33. Another point somewhat missing in this discussion of Jill’s cover is the role of experience at the Atlantic. The magazine doesn’t have a photo editor who might have been able to alter the situation. They instead have an “art and photography coordinator.” This is not to excuse Jill but someone familiar with photographer’s working methods might have been able to rein in her baser instincts. I also think it likely that a photo editor (or the Art Director at the Atlantic) probably could have surmised her outlook prior to the shoot and acted accordingly (a different photographer would be my choice).

  34. Maybe you are right Rob and she wanted to end her career on a high note of sorts. I do not believe she thought the whole thing through. In this country there is no such thing as bad publicity. The controversy will sell a whole lot more magazines and bring Greenberg out into the limelight in the NY Post, on Fox etc. she is most likely launching herself in the celebrity orbit that is beyond the realm of taste and reason for reasons only she knows.

  35. OK, here’s a thought for all those people who see nothing wrong with this, and who think McCain deserves this: Remember Obama’s speech in Denver? Remember when he said “I think America is better than that”? It sounded good, didn’t it?

    Just a thought…

  36. Appears that Greenberg has been dropped by her agent.



    Welcome to the fine art world, Jill, where you’ll now finance your own projects, and you can the the photographer AND the client.

    Oh, and we’ll be in touch about that Audit.

  37. I think what she did was great, she made a real statement about how she feels unlike any of these politicians or most people in the world. It’s refreshing to see someone make a real statement with a photo!

    Jill Greenberg for President!!!!!!!

  38. @36 I don’t think it will be long before someone else picks her up.

  39. Rob your use of the word “Dump” is beyond apropos.

  40. Desperation makes fools of us all. She’s pathetic. Now I KNOW McCain is going to win.

  41. I think it’s funny when people think getting linked and commented about is some kind of huge payday. Sure, if Jill and The Atlantic do it every month but once really amounts to nothing. I suppose you think PDN will also get a huge spike in subscriptions and advertising for the 500+ comments on their post as well.

    As far as PE’s and AD’s who have to answer to clients and bosses and publicists being able to hire Jill without some kind of guarantee that the outtakes will not become part of some future artistic statement. I find it doubtful. She knew this beforehand. Her Rep just dropped her.

    If you think the political climate demands actions such as this then I can’t argue with you about the other points I was trying to make.

  42. @8 A Photo Editor: What difference does it make whether it’s done before or after the shoot?

    @14 David Bean: You mean to tell me nobody is going to take risks because one photographer decided to do so and ended up getting her wrist slapped? Oh brother! If that was the case we’d all have been out of work years ago.

  43. the problem I have is when you start to calibrate your own morality and ethics against those that you oppose.

    It is really ironic that this is the same moral “adjustment” that the Bush Administration employs to justify rendition, torture, Gitmo, the Patriot Act, etc. We must take the gloves off because they did.

    I have never been a Greenberg fan. I find her shiny people to be lifeless corpses, the perfect expression of a culture living out its death fantasies through Dexter, CSI, the pileup of corpses in the media is astounding.

    Maybe that is her point, we get what we deserve. Still for all her railing against the inhumanity of the Republicans, her images trade in the same glossy bubble-like rich fantasy world we live in now.

    Perhaps whatever talent she has could be put to more positive uses instead of simply throwing feces like the monkeys she so adores.

    Surely there is a better smarter proponent of the anger felt on the left?

  44. @41 – Old news Rob, that happened yesterday and she is already represented elsewhere.

  45. @32 – “…IMHO. she just screwed up this time and owes us something.”

    Why Bruce, because she has a spine and doesn’t operate her life or business based on fear? Exactly what is it that you think she owes.?

  46. @Debra,

    As someone who is a registered Independent and will not be voting for either McCain or Obama, my point is this:

    This is the kind of politics that those of who aren’t repubs or dems loathe.

    IMO, what she did was neither brave not courageous, but sick, hateful and venemous. There are many, many other ways to express yourself than to sabotage a client and an industry.

    America is SICK of this kind of divisive tactics.

  47. She did a total dis-service to all photographers. The best quote I heard all day yesterday was “saying she shot political pornography is an insult to pornographers”, that about sums it up.

  48. Wow. I’ve been a huge fan of Jill Greenberg’s. Unfortunately though, I have to say, I think this really sucks. It’s the kind of petty, immature behavior that makes us democrats look bad, and messes up future opportunities for other photographers to have access to shoot people with a political presence. I mean, can you really see a Republican photographer taking a low blow like this one? It’s really disappointing and immature and a complete exploitation of the privilege of her access. It creates a really bad moral for the business–art directors, editors and publicists need to be able to trust that the photographer they are hiring has their best intentions in mind… this just helps enforce a culture of distrust and suspicion. Frankly, I think it gives all of us a bad name and she should issue a formal apology.
    She’s a commercial photographer, if she wants to make political art, more power to her, but she should do it without disguising herself and using that disguise to get access she wouldn’t get otherwise.

  49. I think Jill did this out of pure passion and stupidity. Who does she think she is? I pray that no photo editor/art director ever uses this reckless rogue again. Just because a photographer is given an assignment does not give them the golden ticket to smear their subject. I may not like Vladamir Putin, but if my client hired me to shoot his portrait, I would either respectfully decline or shoot it according to my clients wishes. Never would I backstab the client for a cheap political rant that will forever damn my photography career. STUPID MOVE – Leave the politics for personal assignments, not on your clients dime.

  50. @ 42. Timothy: Plenty of difference. Anybody can have an image retouched like that. Pulling something off on set would show incredible skill. Photographers who specialize in off moments do it all the time but they’re not easy to get past the publicists.

    @44. Debra: elsewhere??? i’m not familiar with that agency.

  51. Debra – I don’t think she was all that gutsy – just deceitful and self destructive. I agree with David Bean, I’m just tired of this brand of hateful expression and personally believe that it did some harm to our profession – all be it temporary.

    I’m sure she’ll do well for herself but I don’t see her as fearless, just hateful.

  52. @32 what the hell does she “owe” us dude? Boring pics of executives in suits?
    I’m going to go on a limb here. But most photogs aren’t creative and can’t relate to someone making a statement like Greenberg has. “she’s doomed us!” “How dare she do something…gasp….different!”
    They go along to get along taking pics of babies, suits and general stock, then whine on blogs like this one “why can’t I get a photo job at a big magazine. help me rob.” But never have the GUTS to take any chances with their work that photogs like Greenberg, Richardson and Teller do. It’s the same shit over and over. So when confronted with a visionary, they react the same way any non creative would in any business, “how dare she! This creative has ruined it for the rest of us! They’ll never trust me at Teamster’s Union Monthly because of her!” get over yourselves.
    Go Jill. You kick ass.
    This work will go down with the likes of Barbara Kruger.
    I’m not bitter, I just think that people are overlooking what she has done as an artist.

  53. @50 A photo Editor: I’m sorry, but creativity is creativity, no matter what form it takes, or when it happens. If you’re saying there is no creativity in post production, well, sorry, but you’re wrong. There’s plenty of creative photographers and digital techs out there.

    Perhaps it’s those in the comfy chairs, PEs and ADs, who are limiting the photographers’ creativity? Nah!

  54. @APE
    I’ve been directed to that “Elsewhere” agency a few times myself!

  55. This is a big deal in a very very small part of the world. There is no mention in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Washington Post,BBC or The Durango Herald.
    There is a piece on Fox News, but hey their just a heartbeat away from being an infomercial.
    Jill Greenberg made the photograph she was hired to make. She then posted on “her site” her versions of John McCain. (I think she was being kind)
    This is her site. Put up for potential clients to review her work, not your work. She hasn’t made these images available to anyone unless you go to her site. Her site is not a place where people go to get their news or a place to decide who they should vote for. You go there to see if you want to hire her or not. Most of us here were never considered to photograph McCain and still aren’t so quit worrying.

  56. @52 – yeah, the creativity of photoshoping shark teeth on a lame shot of McCain was outstanding and the creativity was worth every deceitful effort. Then there was that photo of Palin in a bikini holding a gun – that’s MOMA worthy too.

    I think my point was missed …. never mind.

  57. P.S.

    In case your wondering,I don’t have the balls to do what she did.

  58. All she is guilty of is a little political caricature – nobody bats an eye if a cartoonist does something in a newspaper, but God help us if a photographer does something a little different.

    God bless her stupidity, ignorance and daftness. I’m not a fan of Greenberg’s work at all, but would like to thank her for reminding me McCain voted against Martin Luther King day and exactly where he stands on a number of other issues.

    Isn’t that what it’s about?

  59. @56.
    see dude. That’s the mentality that I always hated at school.
    “your blurry photos should be sharp and accessable to everyone”
    but you know what dude, it’s always the same song isn’t it?
    “Yeah, Pablo creativity is making women look like cubes….why can’t you just paint women that we all can enjoy.”
    And that’s the mentality that seperates the mediocre from the great.
    You might think that “shark teeth” pic sucks, but you know what? She freaking did it! that’s the most I can say for most photographers safe in their corporate worlds.

  60. Does anyone actually think that she planned this whole thing and was waiting for everything to happen this way? I can’t believe she could be so naive to not envision the action/reaction from her comments. Is it possible this is part of some master publicity stunt? Or is it truly one of the dumber incidents in the history of commercial photography?

  61. Way to go Jill. You performed a total public flameout while potentially screwing every other working photographer in the country. You’re entitled, of course, to your political and artistic views and to use your work however you wish. Just as you have the right to screw over a client who is paying you to execute a job because you dislike the person they hired you to photograph and for which you accepted payment. But some thought to the consequences of your conduct on assignment for other photographers in the future wouldn’t have been out of place. Maybe you should have stuck to shooting monkeys.

  62. p.s.-the “evil guy lit from below” thing worked to much better effect for Arnold Newman when he photographed Krupp after WWII. Yours is not even close Jill. Though I guess imitation, even a poor one, can still be considered flattery. Pity Arnold is dead as I would love to hear his take on this…

  63. @ 61. that’s a little dramatic dontchathink?

  64. #6 Career Suicide


    You may want to rethink your thoughts about career suicide.

    Her reps just dropped her.

  65. @64
    so let me get this straight. You guys REALLY believe that this is going to damage her career and ruin professional photographers chances to get jobs in the future.
    you’re either :
    1) a COMPLETE naive when it comes to the art world
    2) so into yourselves that you think Jill Greenberg is actually. going to have an effect on your future plans for American Legion Monthly.
    Please people. DEEP breaths are needed here.

  66. @59 – just for the record. Your a good photographer, keep it up.

  67. Just another vote for the side that believes this was an immature and ethically wrong act. A real back-stab on her client’s dime. Where’s the integrity? No class here, just a huge ego. And honestly … Where’s the art in this? Am I the only one who thinks all her photos look the same? Who cares about Jill Greenberg anyway? The woman has only one look for Christ’s sake! Pale Blue Background? Two edge lights? Heavy PS retouching? It’s all the same look! Doesn’t anybody notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

  68. J.M. Giordano I totally agree with you.

    Never heard such a load of sanctimonious crap.

    And owing the industry?? WTF?????????

    Oh no the “industry” is really suffering cos some one did something naughty.

    I’m crying into my cornflakes for you

  69. Melodrama aside (and I think this is all about a photographer trying to create drama about herself), Atlantic Monthly is claiming both that they won’t pay her, and that they are considering suing her.

    I am curious, and hoping you, Rob, might have an answer to what might be in her contract that would give them an out and make them believe that they have a right to breach the contract, or why they would believe that she had breached the contract (she had a 2 week embargo).

    I would expect that she would have good terms in her contract that protect her. She provided the images, they used them. Is their response just an attempt to save face while they will ultimately end up paying her?

    The only terms I can think of are that she warrants that the images do not defame anyone. But since he is a public figure, I doubt these would pass the defamation threshold.

    If you have an example of the terms that might catch a photographer in this situation, I would love to see them. Thanks.

  70. @70 – This is yesterday’s news. From my post #31

    On another note, the editor of The Atlantic, who just yesterday said they were looking into a possible lawsuit against Jill, was back on Fox News today with a softened position. Probably because there is no legal action for them to take. On the contrary, they are using Jill’s image, but haven’t paid her yet. Now, that’s illegal.

  71. @ 31 – She felt she had to do this.

    good grief. A tad dramatic?

    The most disturbing thing for me is that this drags the magazine/client into it. Sure New Yorker ran that cover of Obama but it was their decision to do so. No client wants to be dragged through the hell fire of an ugly, nasty political mess esp. in todays radically charged environment. Ok, maybe Vice mag.

    This is a kind of malicious graffiti…she expressed how she felt about a candidate…if the cover weren’t so recent it would sting much less but the fact I can get it still SUCKS big time for them. I hope the PE doesnt get it in the end. I highly doubt they knew this would happen. Sure they get some more publicity…and that ain’t half bad. For me, I am just bored of her imagery. This is like one too many tools in an already overly filled toolbox.

    Will it kill her career? Doubt it. Anyone remember a girl named Kate who snorted some powder up her nose one night? Catastrophic to her career right?

    ring ring – Hello this is W calling.

    @32 – Not so sure what she owes us. I hope it ain’t a dose of what she gave McCain.

    As an aside, our conservative PM her in the great white north just ran an ad on a sponsored website where a bird flys by and continually drops S*** all over his closest rivals shoulder. Sadly, he still is leading in the polls proving childish pranks rarely sway the voting public.

  72. I think everyone continues to miss the point in their desire to let their political opinions be known. I am neither a fan of McCain or her style and I certainly don’t have a problem with political commentary BUT

    The problem is that she was hired to do a cover shot for the Atlantic. She delivered the goods as agreed upon but then, on the Atlantic’s dime and with McCain’s time, she surreptitiously stole McCains image to express her own political point of view. Its funny in a “wasn’t I really sneaky” kind of way but if you have any professional ethics or morals it is abhorrent. You can google McCain images and come up with over 5,000,000 responses that you can put your little political commentary 101 on. But this is a serious professional forum with a serious mainstream magazine that McCain, obviously naively and wrongly, trusted. Can you imagine if she had done this doing a portrait for the New Yorker (not that they would ever hire her) what the reaction in the photo dept would be? Do you think that Kathy Ryan at NYTimes would accept that type of behavior from a photographer? If she was paying for the shoot herself and only representing herself then she is free to do as she pleases, no matter how sophomoric the idea. But as a freelance employee of the Atlantic that day she represents them in that moment. The trick is to find your voice within those constraints (think Platon) but not embarrass the publication – or the profession.

  73. Yeah agreed – “owes us” was the wrong turn of phrase. I do, however, feel as though she hasn’t helped anyone with this other than herself and on the flip side, she’s done some damage.

    Professionally she’ll be fine with or without new editorial jobs but that was never my point. It’s just one of those times that I’m not proud of a professional peer.

    [no need to tell me I’m not in her league because I used the word “peer” – I think you get my point]

  74. In Russia a similar picture can be worth politician – end the political career ..

  75. @ #31 Debra Weiss:


    My position, and it appears many others’ too, is that she crossed the line when she did her “artwork” on the back of a commercial job. That was the real infraction. A true artist would hire an illustrator, or buy out a stock image, and then add the blood/teeth, the C headline, and RoeVWade headline to that image. They wouldn’t embarrass a commercial client by dragging their name into her personal view of the world, by combining their commercial job with her “art project”.

    How hard could it be for someone as wealthy as Greenberg to lay her hands on a John McCain stock image, and then let her Retoucher do the rest? Why drag The Atlantic, (or any good commercial client) into the fray?

    It’s no brave singular artist statement when you resort to trickery to express yourself. It’s merely juvenile and short-sighted. It takes no balls to trick someone. A true artist would license an image, retouch it, and send it on to the gallery, with the entirety of the creation being SOLELY her own.

    That you and that Burns Auto Parts defend such a practice of purposely embarrassing a good solid reputable commercial client makes me doubt your own view of the world, and of business practices. You both guide photographers in their careers? In this way? This is the way to success and a long-term solid commercial career? By purposely tricking a paying client, that was hiring you based on your commercial portfolio? And then you stick a shiv in their back in the last five minutes of the allotted time for the session?

    There is a time and a place for everything. No one is discounting that she has passionate feelings for this country, or for the upcoming election. But good judgment guides a person in how to responsibly express that passion, and the commercial marketplace, during a hired act, is not that place, when the client is not privy to it, and did not order it.

    She purposely tricked that magazine into gaining access to a presidential candidate whose only crime was believing in a different political slant than Greenberg’s. A true mature adult does not use trickery to express themselves. That is the complaint here.

    Times are tough. Budgets are down. Young photographers can be impressionable. I cannot imagine what lessons that young photographers are learning from Greenberg’s act. What can we now expect from “copycat photographers”, who desire to create an even larger publicity show to further their careers? The timing of this could not come as a worse time. This country needs adults at the helm.

    I genuinely would like to hear your thoughts on this. I send this not in a combative fashion. I would like to hear your honest thoughts.

  76. When you’re smilin’….keep on smilin’
    The whole world smiles with you
    And when you’re laughin’….keep on laughin’
    The sun comes shinin’ through

    But when you’re cryin’…. you bring on the rain
    So stop your frownin’….be happy again
    Cause when you’re smilin’….keep on smilin’
    The whole world smiles with you

    (instrumental break)
    Oh when you’re smilin’….keep on smilin’
    The whole world smiles with you
    Ah when you’re laughin’….keep on laughin’
    The sun comes shinin’ through

    Now when you’re cryin’…. you bring on the rain
    So stop that sighin’….be happy again
    Cause when you’re smilin’….just keep on smilin’
    And the whole world gonna smile with

    The great big world will smile with

    The whole wide world will smile with you

  77. wow, i hadn’t even thought about the “copycat factor” that Mark mentions. Good point. I can just see some lame-brain trying to be “like Jill” and dragging us all down further.

  78. Debra and Leslie,

    It all comes down to this:

    Was she honest: No

    Did she trick her subject: Yes

    Was she dishonest with her client: Yes

    It is either right or wrong. She was wrong. Gloss it over all you want, but wrong is wrong and no amount of West Coast glibness is going to change the facts that she tricked her subject, abused the relationship with her client and brought shame to herself and this industry.

    Her reps have dropped her. She will feel the effects of her subterfuge for a long time.

    I give no credence to your comments about AD’s and AE’s wanting to use her again. Bar talk is cheap and as Rob pointed out, there is no way she is going to make past a publicist or editor.

    When jobs are on the line, a smart AD or Picture Editor will go to Peter Wang or Platon for a distinctive portrait.

    She cooked her own goose this time and will have to live with her decisions.

  79. Wow – quite some passionate reactions here :-) Isn’t she known for her extensive manipulation in post? Isn’t her political stance known as well? Let’s see: she delivered a great image for the client and produced some rather controversial personal work – arguably political ads but passionate ones none the less – using the outtakes. All within the contract with the magazine…. Hmmm, not sure what’s so terrible about that.

    Of course, “tricking” her client is not the kosher thing to do. But, if anything this is her editorial gaffe and has nothing to do with any other photographer or other assignments. Nor do I think will it have consequences for anyone else. I feel we should all support instead of accusing her: yes, it may be an editorial assignment gone wrong – is that in the political big scheme really significant? – but this issue is also about creative freedom and freedom of speech. Maybe that’s what we should be concerned about instead of just pleasing a client at all cost.

  80. @ 40 – “Now I KNOW McCain is going to win.”

    Simply because of Jill’s photos??? I wish she had that much power because she’s a friend and I could possibly capitalize on it.

    @ 46 – “As someone who is a registered Independent and will not be voting for either McCain or Obama, my point is this:”

    So are you not voting, or are you throwing away a vote to someone who stands no chance of winning?

    @48 – ” I think it gives all of us a bad name and she should issue a formal apology.”

    For exercising her right to express herself? This makes as much sense as McCain demanding an apology from Obama for the “lipstick on a pig” remark.

    @50 – “Anybody can have an image retouched like that. ”

    But nobody else did. And please do not diminish the talents of digital artists by thinking only images captured in camera are worthy.

    “Debra: elsewhere??? i’m not familiar with that agency.”

    How clever. She is with ARTMIX. And her agent did not drop her. It was a mutual decision as she felt they would not support her. She wanted to be with someone who would.

    @51 – “Debra – I don’t think she was all that gutsy – just deceitful and self destructive. I’m sure she’ll do well for herself …”

    Am not sure how one can be self-destructive yet do well for themselves at the same time. I think you all need to get off this notion that she has ruined things for you. Let’s be honest, most photographers wouldn’t do what she did. Most people rarely take a stand. I do not think there is going to be a blanket assumption on the part of photo editors that all photographers will do this. However – this images belong to her. The embargo had ended. You may not like what she did but that has nothing to do with her rights. The big error was the wording of the interview and she would most likely agree.

    @58 – “God bless her stupidity, ignorance and daftness. ”

    Jill may be a lot of things, but believe me, stupid is not one of them.

    @64 – See @50 in this post above.

    @80 – “Her reps have dropped her. She will feel the effects of her subterfuge for a long time.”

    Jesus, doesn’t anyone actually read these posts? See @50 above in this post.

    @81 – Whoever you are, I like you too.

  81. @ 77 – Mark – I promise I will respond to you in a bit. I actually have to get some work done!

  82. I am also a staunch Democrat. So, I agree with Greenbergs’ politics. BUT her professional ethics are horrific. To me they always have been. (Crying babies for crying outLOUD!)
    She will probably still get work in Hollywood as many ACTORS and PR peeps will love to work with the new “bad girl” The fact that she did this with McCain makes her a hero to them. Can you imagine if she would have done this with say…Tom Cruise and his Scientologist beliefs? THEN she really would not work again in Hollywood.

  83. the magazine got there cover. every photographer shoots as much as they can in what was probably a very short and pre-lit situation. she has all right to do what she wants with the images within the confines of art, her promotion, and editorial. she obviously would not have his permission to use his likeness in an ad, but for her viewpoint in promos, web, or other syndication, sure. every time the shutter goes click, it is her copyright, unless it was some kind of a large buyout the Atlantic (who?) could not afford.

    as far as her assignment was concerned, she delivered. period. they got a Jill Greenberg cover. most would probably not photoshop teeth and make a statement with some of the other portraits, but the US is the land of free speech. most would just syndicate other images from the shoots to magazines around the world. so “sneaky” as it was, condemming her work wreaks of the crowd that wants to burn books and says you hear satan when you play led zeppelin backwards.

    the really amazing thing is that millions of people can see the images online that were not for the Atlantic, where probably a small few will see the printed cover she shot. and shot in her exact style of all her other portraits.

    so she’s the michael moore of photography. great. he is doing just fine and continues to speak the truth too.

  84. P.S. Atlantic Monthly itself is in the middle of a rebranding campaign trying hard to be controversial and appear relevant so the choice of Greenberg may not be accidental…. But they may have gotten more than they bargained for ;-)

    More about this here:


  85. I honestly doubt this will hurt her career, commercial or otherwise. It’s obvious Rob won’t use her at this point, which is an understandable personal choice. But for all the clients she turned off, I bet there are dozens of new ones that will hire her now because of it. And when she has her show(s) and has limited edition, huge prints selling for HUGE money, she’ll establish herself in the fine art world. And trust me, people will pay big money for those prints.

    The most disappointing thing of everything I read though, was her arrogant attitude and how proud she was in her deception like it was a huge, elaborate rouse. Having John McCain or their publicist be able to pick out a lighting design in a last second frame is like stealing candy from a baby. I’m more impressed with Gob’s magic than her trickery. She didn’t “trick” John McCain from what I’ve read, she had him stand in a spot and he did.

    I will say this however, the women has huge newts. And I do like someone that is actually willing to put themselves on the line.

    And thank god we don’t have to talk about Miley Cyrus & Annie anymore.

  86. wow
    does this mean my monkey book will be worth more?


  87. Can anyone confirm that the Atlantic is refusing to pay her? If so, they are clearly in the wrong. As bb wrote, above, the copyright is hers. If she respected the two-week embargo, she’s in the clear.

  88. She is hiding a personal agenda to get the attention of the media everywhere with the cover of a “political statement”… There is a difference between freedom of expression and abusing freedom of expression, the consequence is that editorial photographers will now have to pass through all kind of sh*t to work for magazines now…

    Truly a shame to see someone behaving in such unprofessional way, if she didn’t liked the project why not reject it??

    And finally she has also damaged the image of those who are against Senator McCain in the upcoming elections…

  89. Sounds like a bunch of bird and flower shooters got a bit upset that there “hero” got punked. Give her an award. This guy is still mad we left Vietnam. She made art, he would have the power and desire to bomb people.

  90. I just have asked my web-mistress how much it would cost to bring my folio close to Jill’s recently launched portfolio at photography-now.net :-)

  91. I am confused at the reaction that Jill has done something wrong here. As long as she abided by the embargo, as it appears she did, then she is well with in her rights. She owns the pictures, not the Atlantic and not Mc Cain. I agree with Debra Weiss’s very articulate responses.

    I also know Jill, she was my assistant for about a year, when she first came to NY. She was already ahead of her time, doing things on a computer, years before most photogs (including myself) even owned one. I am not at all surprised by her success see little difference from any political cartoonist and admire her willingness to take a stance through her work.

    As far as deceiving her subject during the shoot, this is nothing new. Many photographers, through the years have used what might be considered “tricks ” to get the image they want. In an Avedon documentary he talks candidly about a shoot he had with the Duke & Duchess of Windsor. They were very stiff and guarded during the shoot, knowing they were animal lovers, he told them his cab had hit and killed a dog on his way there. They reacted with horror which he captured and that was the image that was used. Not at all flattering but compelling.

    As someone who shoots a lot of editorial, you are making a creative trade off when you work for magazines. You work for a lower rate, in the hopes coming away with images you can use for your portfolio/site and promotion. That is all she did, her pictures and her vision. This is a freedom of speech issue and it scares me that so many do not see that. The ones I think acting unprofessionally are the magazine, who has yet to pay her and have not backed her at all, even though she fulfilled the assignment and agreement.

  92. > A true artist would license an image, retouch it, and send it on to the gallery, with the entirety of the creation being SOLELY her own.

    If the original photograph is someone else, how could the creation be more of her own ?

    It also seems in this case that the “performance” (the trickery) was essential to the art.

    Last, and not least, this wouldn’t generate a fraction of the interest, would it ?


  93. Jill Greenberg wasn’t afraid to let the world know what she thought of McCain; the world DOES need people like her who aren’t AFRAID to speak up.

    I’m not saying whether she’s right or wrong so don’t take my words out of proportion! She was however hired to take pictures of McCain because she does good work, will not fcuk up and was deemed to maintain a level of PROFESSIONALISM. She was TRUSTED by her clients to deliver and by literally, casting McCain in a bad light… she violated that trust.

    Will her actions affect her desirability in the future?

    No. Jill does good work… and I don’t think anything will ever keep talent down… for long, at least.

  94. I don’t understand how Greenberg’s stunt will hurt editorial photographers in general. She hasn’t changed the game.

    If a client wants exclusive rights to a photograph, he can buy them. Alternatively, a client is free to negotiate longer embargoes or other restrictions upfront. Photographers can decide whether the client is paying enough to offset the added restrictions.

    Trust has been important as long as editors have been hiring photographers to shoot famous people. Greenberg has shown that she’s willing to bite the hand that feeds her. It’s reasonable for a photographer or a subject to take that track record into account when deciding whether to work with her.

    That said, I don’t see how Greenberg has hurt the profession.

  95. The editor who said she wasn’t getting paid likely misspoke because he was getting grilled by fox news. I doubt there’s anything in there they could use to stop payment.

    @ drew: my point was not that it would hurt her career or the industry or that I wouldn’t hire Jill to shoot something I thought she was appropriate for or that others wouldn’t as well, but that it would be difficult to do with a human as the subject.

    The Atlantic is mad and the writer is pissed because this will cost them access. The publicists are in control. They whole reason they’re doing damage control on this is so other publicists don’t think they condone this type of activity.

    It seems like there’s two camps with regards to the ethics of doing what she did with the outtakes which I agree was perfectly within her rights. Those who think the client and photographers can work together towards the same goals and those who think photographers should take what they can from a client to reach their own goal. I guess it really depends on the situation. I’ve only really done the former. Jill burned The Atlantic because she had other goals in mind. Usually the cover embargo is a year so I don’t see this happening again anytime soon.

  96. Well, she can always get work with Fox News… remember their artistic renderings of NYT journalists from the summer? http://mediamatters.org/items/200807020002
    Hmmmm, maybe she’s doing work for Fox. A Fox News/Jill Greenberg marriage sounds sensible, if you look at their tactics.

  97. This will not hurt other photographers.

    Jill will get much more work and pats on the back from celebrities because of this.

    All politics and legalities aside, this is something my high school sister would do to a boy she doesn’t like.

  98. Access is highly overrated. We’ve got a docile and ineffectual press because publicists reward sycophants with access and banish critical thinkers.

    It’s a little epistemological paradox. If a journalist gets exclusive access to a major candidate, you should ignore the interview. Because they wouldn’t have gotten that access unless the candidate’s handlers were confident that the journalist would be positive no matter what.

    I like Greenberg’s stunt because it forces the public to confront the ways in which politicians and the mainstream media work together to keep up appearances. The press should have an adversarial relationship with the people they cover. These days, we have media companies and campaigns colluding. This is true of both parties, of course. It’s not a partisan thing, it’s a fundamental systemic problem.

    I wasn’t impressed with Greenberg’s photo caricatures, except the one about calling his wife an unprintable name. That self-satisfied expression is perfect. Ironically, it’s the most natural-looking image.

  99. @90 – Like we didn’t already have to pass through all kinds of shit to work for magazines? Seriously, editorial photographers complain more than any other photographers in the world. Make excellent work, sell it well and it generates more work.

    I’ll bet you $100 that Jill Greenberg is not going to affect your ability to get or not get a gig. These are photo editors, publicists and magazines. Not the TSA or Homeland Security.

    And to as why she didn’t just decline the job? I’ll go out on a limb and assume it was key to her idea to use one of her own images. And she wouldn’t have access to McCain on her own.

    And to Mark Tuckers (@77) question of why she didn’t just license the image and retouch that because she is wealthy enough? That argument is flawed on at least 2 levels, possibly 3.

    #1 that’s called appropriation which most, not all, will agree isn’t as satisfying creatively.

    #2 Your equating creating art to the ability to pay for it, discounting the creative process Tsk. Tsk.

    #3 There was a lawsuit awhile back where a retouching company licensed an image and retouched it terribly on purpose for an ad. They got sued by the photographer. I don’t know how the final axe fell, I believe it was settled out of court. Now imagine if you had shot John McCain and then Jill Greenberg licensed the image and did what she did. And then everyone would be on her ass for stealing an image and destroying it and how it would have been different if she used one of her own images. Not to mention alot of celebrity/public figure licenses are Publicist approved, so maybe it wouldn’t have been so easy. And then the license would expire.

    At least Jill owns this debacle/genius (choose one) nuts to bolt.

  100. The cinemascapist has no editorial or commercial goals and is willing to take some controversial images of politicians. Who wants to rep me?

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  101. Why do so many of you care if Jill Greenberg committed career suicide? It’s her career, not yours. She can do what she wants with it. Besides, if (as some of you think) she flushed her career in the toilet it means what? She’s history and maybe one of you gets the next gig that might have been her’s? You ought’a be thanking her for that, not dumping on her. It’s a crowded market. A little extra room might help one or two of you.

    Of course, that doesn’t matter to all the altruistic types here. I mean, most of you don’t care about money, right? It’s all about art, right? Snappaz pleez! A whole bunch of you need a refresher course in the 1rst Amendment. It’s exactly the kind of thing Greenberg has done that keeps the bad guys in check or, at the very least, reminds us that we need to keep them in check. Some of you act like she’s the anti-freaking-christ! As a woman, she might be the Anti-Palin but she’s certainly not Anti-American, Anti-Artistic-Freedom, Anti-Photography, Anti-You, Anti-Me, or Auntie Em. BTW, you know the bad guys, right? Those people with phony smiles on their mugs and flags on their lapels and Falwells on their speed-dials… the ones who love authoring shit like Patriot Acts and approving bills to read all our emails and put video surveillance cameras up everyone’s asses.

    Who wrote about this stuff being political porn and giving pornographers a bad name? That’s bullshit. If political porn is what this is, it holds pornographers in higher regard, not lower. It underscores the rights of expression whether you agree with that expression or not. Oh, and at the expense of artistic expression we certainly wouldn’t want to piss off or embarrass a corporation like the one who own Atlantic Monthly or any other rag. I mean, corporations not only dish us work, but they have our best interests, first and foremost, at heart, right?

    A lot of people need to grow some balls here… like Greenberg and that Weiss dude… I mean chick. I’m constantly amazed how, of all the artistic people I meet (musicians, writers, actors, filmmakers, etc) photographers are, as a group, consistently the most closed-minded. And sheesh! I are one.

  102. So now I’ll to tell my Ph.Ed. “Dude. No worries. I won’t go Jill on this one”?

  103. so many thoughts…so little time.

    i assume “a photo editor” that you know that “an embargo is usually a year” has some background–you know, that photographers are whores who will fuck anyone over, including each other. transfer of copyright falls under the same story. i’m sure most of the people posting here who have crappy photo careers would happily eat whatever shit some publicist or client gives them for a chance to shoot anyone of significance. it’s possible–just possible, mind–that greenberg is so good at what she does BECAUSE she doesn’t let magazines push her around. because she doesn’t underbid. i don’t know. but i wouldn’t be surprised.

    now i know it would be too much to ask, but maybe the fact that

    a) she gets bigtime jobs but
    b) isn’t afraid to fuck with the levers of power that get her said jobs
    c) result in some kudos. but instead the knives come out.

    by the way, how is that guild of yours, the one that bargains on behalf of photogs and makes sure their rights are protected and they can’t get screwed by bidding against (and under) each other?

    what? there is none? really? so you guys can fuck each other over at the drop of a hat? now i know “a photo editor” by reputation, and he ain’t much of a photo editor. but when he was i’m sure he played a couple of photogs against each to grind down whatever pathetic fee he was handing out. and i’m sure it didn’t take much to get them to jump through those hoops.

    if cinemascapist is anything to go by, a nice warm dead body is just what the average photographer wants as a pad to step up to the next level. of course, the quality of the work of 99% of hte people posting here isn’t enough to make greenberg’s assistant’s outtakes. jealousy is an ugly beast.

    following up on what debra weiss said above, greenberg is now with artmix. according to them they were already in negotiations before all this went down.

    if greenberg loses work because of her political expression, she deserves nothing but kudos, ESPECIALLY IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH HER POLITICS. if she gets yet more work (though looking at the news portion of her website i’m not clear how that would be possible) then THAT SHOULD BE CELEBRATED.

    also, jimmyd, a naked girl photographer (i know jimmy, you are much more than that, i’m just sayin’), and lindsay beyerstein (whose blog rocks) a hardcore feminist with an axe to grind…and they are on the same page? now that’s good stuff.

  104. -the Atlantic cover picture of McCain is pretty good. the magazine used it and they need to pay her no matter how angry they may be over her stunt. they don’t have to hire her again. not that there’s much chance of that.

    -her political beliefs are beside the point. it’s her professional ethics that people are upset about. if she wants to screw her clients, for whatever reason, that’s her business. good luck with that. but her sophomoric attention-grabbing prank may complicate these kinds of assignments for other photographers in the future and very likely cause clients and subjects to try to impose even greater prior restrictions on secondary use as conditions of gaining access or getting an assignment. that’s not good.

    -she’ll be a pariah to some(ok, many, at least for a while) and the next hot photographer(for awhile) to others. she’s certainly a lot better known that she was last week. I wouldn’t worry about her.

    -I wonder if she has actually helped McCain by making him appear the innocent victim of what many will see as unscrupulous and gratuitously cruel behavior.

    -does anyone remember when Greg Heisler angered the White House by shooting Bush the First for a Time cover that ended up being a composite of two different pictures which made him look like he didn’t know what he was doing? Bush felt he’d been tricked into looking foolish and Heisler probably wasn’t welcome at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. again until the Clinton administration. But I don’t think his career suffered too much in the long run.

  105. “also, jimmyd, a naked girl photographer (i know jimmy, you are much more than that, i’m just sayin’)”

    dude… i mean #105…. i mean anonymous: Over three years blogging about and publicly outing myself as a naked girl photographer. Another blog for 4 or 5 years before that. ( i wonder how many bloggers here even knew what a blog was, uhh… 7 or 8 years ago… much less wrote one. ) That aside, I been shooting those naked girls for many years more. So, if that was a stab, it was weak. I’m good with what i do. If I weren’t and i really thought i was “much more than that,” i might be trying to do much more than that. Of course, that might represent being unemployed (which, as you pointed out, many here aren’t. leastwise, as shooters.) But maybe not. I don’t do being unemployed very well. That’s probly why i haven’t tried to do “much more that that.” I’m just saying, ya know?

    Question for ya: Does the fact that I make my living shooting glamour, tease, smut, naked girls, however you might want to label it, automatically invalidate my opinions? Just curious.

  106. no, just the opposite, jimmyd–your post was totally fucking awesome in every way. just trying (and clearly failing) to be funny. i was just bemused by the…

    eh, explaining comedy is like a dissecting a frog. you can learn a lot about the frog, but it tends to die in the process.

  107. @105 (anonymous) “if cinemascapist is anything to go by, a nice warm dead body is just what the average photographer wants as a pad to step up to the next level.”

    A) it’s “the” cinemascapist or “le” cinemasagiste or “el” cinesajista
    B) there are no dead bodies (by my interpretation of the images)
    and C) if there were dead bodies where I live, they would not be warm

    but I’m flattered to take part in your analogy.

  108. “So, if that was a stab, it was weak.”

    As a compliment, of course, it was quite strong. Damn! Flip-flopping is easier than I thought. Maybe I could have a career in politics?

    Quick! Someone get me a bridge-to-nowhere to back, i mean oppose, i mean…


  109. I’ve been watching the back-n-forth on this stuff all day and I just have to laugh at anyone who thinks this mess isn’t gonna affect Greenberg’s ability to get work! Time, Newsweek, Fortune, The New York Times Magazine, Fast Company or BusinessWeek…all magazines she has shot cover stories for…do you honestly think they will EVER hire her again?!! Gimme a break…the editor who does had better be damned sure of his position in the company ‘cuz if she so much as farts in the wrong direction the entire staff will be pounding the pavement!

    And to anyone who thinks this crap hasn’t already affected things in the photo biz, I have a personal story to relate, poppin’ fresh….

    I get a call Sunday night from a bank publicist…seems that the (magazine name) shoot I had planned for Tuesday may have to be ‘postponed’…this is Sunday night, mind you, the very day the Atlantic mess was building steam!

    Monday morning…the shoot is on hold because the bank doesn’t feel that doing an ‘edgy’ photograph is in their best interest. Never mind that the ‘edgy’ photograph was discussed and planned to death last week, with the banks help & blessing…….the wild & crazy, high-concept idea involved a couple of their retail analysts posing in the a Bloomingdales window display with a few mannequins…hardly anything that might freak out the fly-over states…

    Tuesday morning the publicist for the bank admits that the Atlantic magazine mess was discussed when the decision to kill the shoot was made…knee-jerk reaction, definitely, but so what?!! In my own little way, I got wrapped up in Jill Greenberg’s shit!


  110. # anonymouse: is it always necessary to drag out the “oh, this industry is so fucked and you worthless hacks are all to blame” speech at the end here? why all the guessing about how it all works? give it a shot and see for yourself. it’s not so bad.

  111. Bottom line. I find john mccain’s words and actions much more offensive than any picture Jill Greenberg might ever make.

  112. @ 48 “a complete exploitation of the privilege of her access”

    I agree whole heartedly with the above comment. I have always admired her work in the past, and have been a fan. After this incident, I find myself not liking her as a person! Not that she cares, as I don’t mix in her crowd.

    I am in-fact quite upset to find out that she has such a huge ego, which has actually made me look at her photographs differently. Her ego, makes her photographs less worthy of admiration, (in my opinion.) In the same way as I don’t go to see movies made by egotistical actors!

    I would also like to add that I was assisting a very well respected photographer in NY, yesterday. The creative director, the art director, the art buyer and 2 clients were on the shoot. The discussion of this incident came up, and the general consensus was that no one present would hire her again! The client said, they just couldn’t, as in when they have to pull ads of sponsored athletes, when an athlete is found DUI. The Creative Director, (he could have been an ECD) said he despised photographers with such big egos! For every one JG, there were 10 other brilliant photographers he could hire! The AD, asked, what I wanted to ask, except I didn’t dare!!!! “Can all republicans or independents put their hands up for a count please” NOT A SINGLE HAND WENT UP, everyone on yesterdays big shoot was a DEMOCRAT!…….. And, No, I cannot name the agency, lets just say one of the big ones, with a really important CD! who came on the shoot, because of the stature of the photographer!!!! Client, you cannot get any bigger….. Sorry, I have to go back and assist again tomorrow!
    and I do believe that it would be, a complete exploitation of the privilege of my access! even if it’s to a simple conversation!!!!

    I am sure many people who agree with what she did will hire her, except by what the client said, Not many clients would!!!! Not even democrats!

  113. Let me start this off by saying I am a photographer…not a very experienced one, but that does not matter with this subject in my opinion.

    To me, the opinions here and on all the other blogs are built up of two important parts and one that really has nothing to do with this topic within the forum(s) it is currently being discussed. Here is a list of my points and some others I find to be the “problem” in all of this:

    The first problem I have, and I assume many others have has nothing to do with photography or politics. It is the fact that Greenberg came out after the images were released and made the statements that she did. This alone shows that this was not some great work of art, but more of a means to bring attention to herself and no one else. Read these quotes one more time:

    “I left his eyes red and his skin looking bad,” – So, for those that say the Atlantic hired her to do a job, and she completed that job… To me, it would seem they would hire her based on previous work and expect her to complete that work. Maybe they thought the image she gave them for the cover was complete…but then she makes them look like fools with that statement by basically saying she did not even complete her job.

    “please come over here” for one more set-up before the 15-minute shoot was over. There, she had a beauty dish with a modeling light set up. “That’s what he thought he was being lit by,” Greenberg says. “But that wasn’t firing.” – So tricky…I guess besides being tricky…I can’t say too much about this…at least this was premeditated on the Atlantic time clock.

    “He had no idea he was being lit from below,” Greenberg says. And his handlers didn’t seem to notice it either. “I guess they’re not very sophisticated,” she adds. – Please…pure professionalism on her part and a good use of the time allotted by the magazine and subject for her to play with…on their dime. Also, is the “sophisticated” comment really necessary? Maybe it is just me, but if I were being lit by multiple lights WITH modeling lights on and I saw a flash, I probably would not know and would assume she was just working…and I AM a photographer. Next…

    “It’s definitely exciting to shoot someone who is in the limelight like that. I am a pretty hard core Democrat. Some of my artwork has been pretty anti-Bush, so maybe it was somewhat irresponsible for them [The Atlantic] to hire me.” – Once again…they hired someone they thought was a professional who would give 100% on the shoot…not have a personal agenda and give an under-retouched version and expect full pay. Ya, they ran the photo…but maybe think with a little morality here…not just a $.

    My second problem with this is intertwined with what I typed above:

    Not that she was dumb/brave? enough to come out and say those quotes, but just her disrespect to the client. I know what some of you will say; “she got the shot and the rest were hers!” That is not the point. The point is that, and I thank Mark Tucker for putting this into words, she did those shots, which now are all photo shopped up, on her clients time and under their watch so now THEY are the ones dealing with the aftermath. Sure they might sell a few more copies of the current mag, but what do you suppose the writer is thinking about any possibility of a follow-up story? Do you think Obama or anyone else of political significance will pose for them for a cover?

    On a third note…this has NOTHING to do with any of OUR political views nor does it have anything to do with what McCain has done in his past… Really, this is posted on a photo blog and I believe the main issues here for us are the possible effects it will have on OUR jobs. Some say none, but as I just read above @111, it apparently has so that one job right there is enough evidence for me to be upset with her.

    If these were done on her own time, with some shots she snapped on her own dime or even WELL down the road after the magazine had moved on(embargo or not), I would have no problem with this. To be honest, I have no problem with any of the photos…some like them and say they are “artsy”…other do not…that is not the point here!

    To end this with a quick summary…the point is that she acted in a deceitful manner to her client during the shoot…did not deliver an image she put 100% into like the Atlantic thought they were getting, and possibly hurt, even in the smallest form, some of our(photographers) chances at shooting high profile subjects or gaining new clients as young photographers.

    Sorry…that got long but after reading this crap all day…I guess you can’t help but have an opinion.

  114. let us all just celebrate that the power of a photograph lives on!

  115. Just another self-marketing ploy from one of the many “look at me” types out there.

    Look at all the wasted bandwidth with her name attached already….

    It has nothing to do with McCain, and everything to do with her.

  116. Presidential races are won by the undecideds.
    Jill has just pushed a bunch of these voters to the right.

    She made JM a victim and probably made a whole lot of money
    for herself. Do not be fooled by her ape shit. She is after
    the same thing that drives all of us. MONEY.
    Her website is nothing if not her mega marketing machine. She will make
    ton of money from this and complain about how much she has to
    pay to IRS.

    Sound familiar, people?

  117. People yowling that Greenberg’s actions might limit their freedom while some “bank publicist” cancels a harmless shoot.

    I’m worried this industry is already dead.

  118. Wow good to see Jill is taking the Madonna approach. It will be interesting to see if it works. Will she screw herself from ever shooting anyone interesting again? She certainly has screwed the rest of us.

    I went to her site. I love some of her work. I guess being a paid monkey gets boring… and mixing it up a little is great. I don’t get it though… my nephew could have done the photoshop work she did to the Mccain image. Not like she tried to do anything cool.. just basic helvetica font work.. LOL

    Not much art in that..

    Certainly gives Fox news something to talk about


  119. oh btw those of you who want to vent to Jill themselves can email her


  120. @77 – Mark – Many photographers create work for themselves while doing a commercial job. Nobody gets rich off of editorial – well, most people don’t. One of the reasons for the photographer to do editorial is to create imagery that will be good enough to put in their portfolio. The client rarely makes the same select that the photographer would. Photo Editors know that photographers shoot for themselves once they’ve gotten the shot for the client.

    I find your statement that a true artist would buy hire an illustrator or buy out a stock image and then manipulate the image somewhat interesting coming from a creator of intellectual property. I believe a true artist would create work that was created by them in its’ entirety. I don’t consider appropriation art – I consider it theft. And why in the world would someone like Jill Greenberg, whose known for a particular look and style, use someone else’s image? There would be no need for her to do that.

    I can’t speak for Leslie and I don’t know how Leslie feels about this situation, however, I can say with some degree of certainty that neither one of us is in favor of intentionally embarrassing a client. And I don’t believe Jill is either. The error here, as I’ve stated previously, was not what she said in the interview, but how she said it. Regarding my view of the world and business practices – I actually get to know something before I doubt it.

    You repeatedly use the word trickery throughout your post. Your assertion that “”She purposely tricked that magazine into gaining access to a presidential candidate whose only crime was believing in a different political slant than Greenberg’s.” is wrong. She didn’t trick them Mark, she was hired.

    Copycat photographers are just that – imitations. There is a reason Jill has taken ownership of the style of work she creates and why she’s gotten where she has.

  121. The part I don’t understand is why Jill (and others) thinks she’s pulled off something so amazing. “I guess they’re not very sophisticated”???

    This from the person who tries making political statements by taking advantage of commercial gig to shoot a shoddy-at-best, bottom-lit portrait of a presidential candidate against a beige wall, slaps on some sophomoric one-liners, and posts them to the world in her online portfolio?

    This isn’t sophisticated art, sophisticated politics, or sophisticated commercial photography. It’s certainly not sophisticated retouching.

    In fact, it’s not even sophisticated ‘balls’ (hereafter ‘courage’). Where is the courage in a hit from behind? Rather, it’s just rash self-indulgence that’s only getting attention because she dragged a client into her cowardly-executed political agenda. If Jill really wanted to demonstrate something, then she should’ve anted-up and addressed Mr. McCain directly when she had the chance. Granted, that’d be highly inappropriate as well, but this is all about making a point, right? Go big or go home!

    Even then she’d still be lacking because it takes real courage to finish a job you were hired to do. It takes real courage to leave your fanaticism at the door and treat a client / subject with respect. It takes real courage to use your influence / access / abilities in constructive ways.

    [political disclaimer: I’m about as politically undecided as it gets, but seeing immature crap like this from ‘hard core’ supporters of anything or anyone only makes me wish I could run the other way…fast]

  122. Has the tea pot boiled dry yet?

    Greenburg has every right to express her opinion as the USA, despite the last eight years, is still a (relatively) free country compared to most. She also has every right to embarrass her clients – -and she’ll pay the cost for that for at least awhile. Unfortunately I’ve seen two other once prominent photographers commit virtual career suicide by burning their bridges often enough that their bad reputation started preceding the quality of their work when art directors talked about them. I really doubt it will hurt her with her overseas advertising clients or the people who buy her prints.

    I doubt that Senator McCain even knows or cares , and if he does he probably just shrugs it off as both he (and Senator Obama) have been treated worse, although it is obvious his message people made sure they raised as big a stink as they could as they could about it. After yesterday however they are now busy throwing Carly Fiorina under the wheels for straight talk and keeping McCain from looking like a flip-flopper for his sudden change of stance on the need for effective government regulation.

    Did Greenburg’s actions hurt the rest of us working photographers? Let me ask you this: Do your clients already have reasons not to trust you? I just hope Greenburg’s actions don’t end up indirectly hurting other female photographers with similar names.

  123. @122 – “One of the reasons for the photographer to do editorial is to create imagery that will be good enough to put in their portfolio.”

    Agreed, but….how does this have any relevance? Putting an image in your portfolio does not make it ‘good’. It doesn’t take a portfolio consultant to see that Jill’s bottom-lit snapshots are far from portfolio material.

  124. @85 – “so she’s the michael moore of photography. great. he is doing just fine and continues to speak the truth too.”

    LOL. BTW, ‘manipulators.com’ is already taken

  125. Re #111 – Gee, did you ever think that the fact that the entire banking industry was suffering through a TOTAL meltdown had anything to do with that? Did you even read any financial news this week?

    Once the Dow Jones drops another 3000 points none of this will matter…..

  126. @123 – “This isn’t sophisticated art, sophisticated politics, or sophisticated commercial photography. It’s certainly not sophisticated retouching.”

    Perhaps this is part of the statement. Despite the fact that he married into incredible wealth, McCain is not a terribly sophisticated individual. In fact , his behavior is quite plebeian.

    @125 – “Agreed, but….how does this have any relevance? Putting an image in your portfolio does not make it ‘good’. It doesn’t take a portfolio consultant to see that Jill’s bottom-lit snapshots are far from portfolio material.”

    I was not referring to Jill’s work in my response to Mark Tucker. I was speaking in general terms.

    “Even then she’d still be lacking because it takes real courage to finish a job you were hired to do”

    She finished the job and the client was very happy with it.

  127. @128….did she finish a job? Leaving blemished skin and red eyes. Sure they used it…but I bet they trusted her to do the job 100%…and paid for it too.

  128. This has been beaten to death, but I had a couple thoughts on the way to my studio this morning.
    As far as comparisons to other events like this in media history, I’ve thought of two.
    1. Hunter S. Thompson’s interview with Richard M. Nixon on the campaign trail, and his subsequent article for Rolling Stone that lampoons Nixon to shreds.

    2. Sasha Baron Coen(sp?) and the movie Borat. He convinced real people to be in his movie, had them sign a contract, and then portrayed them the way he wanted. All lawsuits were dropped.

    Are either of these comparable?

    Are these two well known celebrities “pathetic, stupid, underhanded, sleazy, the devil” or any of the other things Jill has been called?

    Curious to know what you all think.

  129. @127 – Re #111 – Gee, did you ever think that the fact that the entire banking industry was suffering through a TOTAL meltdown had anything to do with that? Did you even read any financial news this week?

    Thank you. I posted a similar response on EP last night and was about to do the same here. And for anyone who banks at Washington Mutual, they’re next.

  130. @129 – It was the client’s decision not to retouch the image. They stand behind the cover image 100%.

  131. @128 – “McCain is not a terribly sophisticated individual”

    Never said he was, but then again he’s not the one claiming superior ‘sophistication’ here. This issue has nothing to do with McCain anyway. I don’t care who she did this to, it’s still not ‘sophisticated’.

    @128 – “In fact , his behavior is quite plebeian.”

    More irrelevance, here and in the political arena.

    @128 – “She finished the job and the client was very happy with it.”

    In her own words she left work undone and purposely withheld her signature style. And I’m not sure I’d go as far as to say the client is ‘very happy’. NY Post Article:


    “I left his eyes red and his skin looking bad,” she boasted.


    “We stand by the picture we are running on our cover,” said Atlantic editor James Bennet. “We feel it’s a respectful portrait. We hope we’ll be judged by that picture.”

    But Bennet was appalled by Greenberg saying she tried to portray McCain in an unflattering way.

    “We feel totally blind-sided,” he said. “Her behavior is outrageous. Incredibly unprofessional.”


  132. @132 – “It was the client’s decision not to retouch the image.”

    Source please. ‘Standing behind’ a cover and being the impetus behind the decision are not synonymous.

  133. @133 – I think you missed the point and this is becoming tiresome.

    I wish all had been this vocal during the last eight years as the current administration was doing its best to dismantle our Constitution.

    You are free to think and feel however you want. For now, I believe there are more pressing issues to be concerned with than whether or not Jill Greenberg alerted John McCain to the fact that she was changing her lighting set-up.

    This is both more interesting and more important:


  134. WOW!! Artmix?!?!?!??!!?!…suuuuuuch an amazing upscale agency.
    Oh, she’s really movin’ on up.
    And I am SURE that they were already in talks, and that the overnight move to Artmix had NOTHING to do with her being DUMPED.
    Since we are talking about honesty here – let’s be honest people. That was a desperate move. And she jumped onto the ship (dingy) that would take her.

  135. @Debra Weiss,

    You say I’m “throwing my vote away” because I’m voting third party????

    That’s very hypocritical of you. You applaud Jill for standing up for what you believe in and having the courage to do so. But if I vote my concience, I’m just throwing my vote away.

    The hypocrisy is glaring.

    as for the financial crisis, 5 years ago…. the Bush administration (who for the record I am no fan of) tried to do put in place regulations on the industry BUT was rejected by Democrats as seen below.

    It always seems you party loyalists believe whatever your party tells you.

    ”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee.


    FYI, if I’m not mistaken Obama agreed with Bush and wanted this to pass.

  136. Huh – @136 Looks like a pretty good roster at Artmix to me … am I missing something?

    Sounds like this discussion has come down to the definition of professionalism and how a professional treats their clients and/or respects the implied spirit of the contract.

    Either you understand and agree with what Mark Tucker and others are driving or you don’t.

  137. @135 – I’m not sure how wedging more political commentary into the discussion helps your case of me ‘missing the point’.

    Yes, there’s more pressing issues. Vote.

    Here and now we’re talking about the photo industry.

  138. -Enough already.
    -and that guy smiling off to the side is Platon.

  139. I am not going to take sides on this, because all sides have already been taken.

    My observation, though, is that in two weeks, other than may be the Photo Editors/Art Directors that were going to hire Ms Greenberg, hardly any one in the public (even other photographers) will remember that it happened.

  140. By the way Debra,

    My post may read a little angrier than it really is. Sorry about that. I’m trying to be a civil as possible. Nothing personal.

  141. Platon is in a different category, let’s not even compare Greenberg with Platon, it’s not even close.

  142. If you think the political agenda trumps all, then the discussion is over. There’s no debating the ethics or ramifications of the incident if we include the politics (I guess that’s impossible since that was the motivation) and frankly there are much better places to discuss politics.

  143. @142 – David – I never take anything personally – even when it is personal!

    “That’s very hypocritical of you. You applaud Jill for standing up for what you believe in and having the courage to do so. But if I vote my concience, I’m just throwing my vote away.”

    Come on – you know that candidate will not win and can possibly act as a spoiler. For reasons beyond my comprehension, this election will most likely be very close. How often has anyone ever had the opportunity to vote for someone they really admired as opposed to the lesser of two evils? I’ve voted in a lot of elections and only once did I really feel confident about my chosen candidate from the minute I voted.

    “It always seems you party loyalists believe whatever your party tells you.”

    I’m a New Yorker and therefore believe nothing that anyone tells me! While I may be loyal to the Democratic Party, it doesn’t mean I don’t have issues with them. Hey – it’s the Democrats who introduced Orpan Works and I have a huge issue with that legislation. I am old enough to remember when both parties actually had idealogical beliefs that were part of a real agenda.

  144. Maybe photoeditors have contributed to this. The whole story reminds me of the Annie Leibovitz video where she asked the queen to take her crown of. Photoeditor Rob praised Annie for it and seemed to be impressed by tAnnies bravado. I thought it was plain foolish and ignorant.
    Jill for sure has a big ego and past photoshoots of her show it. Editors Love that – she sure did something foolishly and irresponsible here with the McCain story but to put all the blame at her concerning the environment where editorial photographers have to work doesn’t feel right. Its editors and magazines themselves who have nourished and invited this behaviour.

  145. Jill Greenberg is an artist. Successful artists take risks, chances, artists are the rebels. Leonardo Da Vinci was hired by the church which he then criticized, in his own subtle way. The shocking thing to me has been the reaction to her action. How is it possible that people are so surprised that a west coast, artist, liberal has taken some liberties with potentially the most powerful, controversial figure in american culture today? And who are any of us in the blog world to criticize her? When we reach the status of Jill Greenberg, then maybe we can throw stones. You’ll notice that you don’t see her chiming in anywhere, thats because she’s undoubtedly busy making pictures.

  146. Re: #137

    David – did you even read the article you linked to? Here’s the money graf:

    “The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.”

    That is what the Republican administration put in place. Remember that five years ago the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress so the Democrats would not have been able to ‘block’ this.

    This was the Democratic response:

    “Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.

    ”I don’t see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,” Mr. Watt said. ”

    Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

  147. Initially – I kind of thought what the hell. Now, I figure she might have had a manic episode or some other peripheral problem that underlies the whole thing.

    Artistry and being off your rocker.

    I encourage opinion and point of view but … where there is sand so is there a line.

  148. […] that one of their own has ruined it for the rest of them. One otherwise obnoxious commentor at A Photo Editor had an interesting point that takes the shame game to a new level: by the way, how is that guild of […]

  149. @ 136 – she was at artmix prior to vaughan hannigan.

  150. Since the magazine hasn’t paid her yet allegedly she should sue them for copyright infringement for using them. Just saying.

  151. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM….. she took the pictures down from her site. All of them.
    Maybe she is realizing that she screwed up here. I hope so.

  152. She did take her pics off the site, maybe Rob should interview her and find out what’s happening.
    Debra what do you think about that?Too much pressure?
    I am not trying to be sarcastic at all, i am just wondering what’s going on with that.

  153. momentary desire for sarcasm.
    ok that passed.
    yes, Debra Weiss, we would love to get your take on this latest turn of events.

  154. I’m very, very late in to this thread and a lot of points have already been made.

    Personally I think what she did was highly unprofessional. It shouldn’t matter if she doesn’t like McCain or thinks he’s satan himself; she still needs to act like a professional. What ever she does as an artist on her own time is her personal business, but when she’s on the clock as a photographer, she needs to draw inside the accepted lines.

    Aside from compromising her own career, her actions also taint the publication. On a political level she also plays in to the hands of the people she supposedly opposes.

    Eisenstaedt was a lot more clever about this sort of thing and let the subject speak for itself. Catching the decisive moment when the true character of the subject is exposed for a fraction of a second is the most powerful and sometimes damning thing you can do. Enough people will see deep enough in to a photo like this.

    Remember this shot?


  155. Another positive thing I can see out of this is that there is still plenty of power for photography. The fact that one photographer, with only a few photographs, can cause hundreds (if not, thousands) to start discussing issues is no small feat.

    I think we can all feel pretty good about that.

  156. The new image on the front of Jill’s site sure is appropriate! :-)

  157. Photo Tourette’s syndrome……

  158. The presidential campaign is all about image manipulation. McCain spends millions on his tv ads attempting to make Obama look bad, framing his words in the worst possible light.

    In that sense, the photographers actions are exactly in line with the tone of the campaign. It’s karma, and honestly it’s absolutely hilarious. McCain made his bed, and he can sleep in it.

    Why should a phographer or magazine be morally obligated to present politicians as healthy and beautiful, with the aid of special light and photoshop helps? The way I see it, Jill Greenberg attempted to photograph the person underneath the political facade, and she succeeded pretty good. John McCain really does have his moments of ego-centric pride, of sudden rage, and ironically a sometimes very dark sense of humor. Those are real aspects of who John McCain is, which even his closest associates have freely admitted. So why shouldn’t an artistic photographer attempt to capture the truth of the man as she sees it. In fact, I’d argue that she has a responsibility to do just that. To try to convey the more unpleasant aspects of a man who would be president. McCain is a very war-centric personality. He’s indicated that if he becomes president, it is a certainty that multiple wars will follow. Multiple wars means blood and gore in other countries. These are realities of what McCain will bring to the future. And it’s not a guess. McCain has said as much. “My friends, I’m sorry to tell you. There’s gonna be other wars.” She’s just photographing what that means: War means blood and gore. That’s why people say war is hell and abominable… because war is awful and it is repugnant to any individual who understands what it does to families oversees.

    McCain is not “owed” special charisma-enhancing photoshop effects and neither is the Atlantic. Did the Atlantic hire Jill Greenberg to make McCain look as handsome as possible? Or did they ask for a cover shot with merit that might garner some extra attention for their magazine? I think they made out fine. They got exactly what they paid for. So is the selected photo the whole entire truth about John McCain? No. Obviously not. But neither would a flattering shot under perfect light by a photographer with head properly bowed in deference to the “great man” of brave-ness and hero-ness and with such an affable smile.

  159. @ 156 Leo: And, from what I can tell no one was told about it. They just stumbled upon it and the word spread. The Gawker story had 23,000 + views.

  160. @84 The photography of the crying babies, titled END TIMES is a series that Jill photographed in response to the re-election of George W. Bush.

    Jill made a promotional piece out of these photographs and distributed it via direct mail to her clients. The promotional piece is published on her website.

    I wonder if the Atlantic saw this before they hired her? Some might say yes, that they were looking to get a little attention. Some might say no, and I’d have to wonder how you could have missed this. If the Atlantic did see the test below, it certainly would have served as a warning that she has balls. She sent the text below to her clients, probably not knowing, or caring, if any of them were right wing.

    I will cut and paste what she wrote about the End Times series.

    “Nothing is more pure than the anguish of a child. Pictures of children crying capture raw emotion: sputtering rage and profound loss. In many ways we’ve become desensitized to disturbing images. But the honesty of a child’s feelings is undeniable and it draws you in to the photograph. Perhaps because kids experience the kind of powerful emotions that we, as adults, have suppressed in ourselves.

    The children I photographed we not harmed in any way. And, as a mother, I am quite aware of how easily toddlers can cry. Storms of grief sweep across their features without warning; a joyful smile can dissolve into a grimace of despair. The first little boy I shot, Liam, suddenly became hysterically upset. It reminded me of helplessness and anger I feel about our current political and social situation. It made me think of my outrage at our false reason for going to was in Iraq and the scandalous way in which the conflict was sold to the American people. I thought of George W. Bush , then just sworn into his second term in office, and I decided to call the image “Four More Years.”

    As any new parent will tell you, the future suddenly becomes a very serious concern. As ecstatic as I was at the birth of my daughter, I felt selfish bringing her, and later my son into our screwed up world. I seemed to become a mother at exactly the same moment things went awry. Of course, human beings have always been greedy, violent and dishonest. But the rise of the Christian right as a political force in this country has made the situation dire. The most dangerous fundamentalists aren’t just waging war in Iraq; they’re attacking evolution, blocking medical research and ignoring the environment. It’s as if they believe the apocalyptic End Time is near, therefore protecting the earth and the future of our children is futile. As a parent I have to reckon with the knowledge that our children will suffer for the mistakes our government is making. Their pain is a precursor of what is to come. ” – Jill Greenberg

    I saw this promo piece a year ago. I had just become a mother myself. When I read the text from Jill, and I saw the photos, I thought I couldn’t have said how I felt, or had pictures represent how I felt any better. “4 more years…” She aced it.

    Not too long ago there was a post from Rob, quoting lines from “Walk the Line”. He was urging us all to take the pictures we want to take. Didn’t she do just that? She just went too far, right?

    I can’t condone or disagree with what she did.

    But 2 things are clear to me as an agent:

    1- She is an excellent photographer.
    2- She has offended many people, but she has also just solidified her bond with people that agree with her. Those clients will be back, and I see dollar signs in her future.

  161. @ 159…AKA: ‘Shawn’…Hi ‘Shawn’…I just got back from dinner, but I’m glad you could jump into the discussion all the way down the line at position #159 to inject a bit of half-warmed-over political Pablum to make us all aware just what side of the electoral fence you’re sitting on! I’m glad you could could give us your views, ‘cuz actually, we’ve been kinda short of some straight-up, blindly Liberal attitude for the past couple of hours! Oh yeah…don’t let the facts of the discussion at hand get in the way of your telling us that John McCain and the rest of his scummy Republican pals are the the next best thing to the AntiChrist…we’re smart enough to plow through your jingoistic gobbledigook and figure it all out…..but since you felt the need to ask a few questions, why dont’cha let me answer them for you?!!

    • “Why should a phographer or magazine be morally obligated to present politicians as healthy and beautiful, with the aid of special light and photoshop helps?”

    I’m gonna let the spelling and grammar mistakes go, ‘cuz I know how hard it is to hammer away on that computer thingy after 6 or 7 Jack & Cokes, but let me just say that magazines aren’t “morally obligated” to show the subjects of their stories in any way other than what they have done in the past…in this case, The Atlantic hasn’t exactly been know as the kind of publication that ‘ambushes’ it’s feature subjects to make them look particularly bad. That said (and knowing enough about Jill Greenberg’s style of photography) I feel pretty confident saying the art department assumed the kind of photograph Ms. Greenberg would deliver when they handed her the assignment…her style of portrait, the in-your-face, shiny skin, desaturated color, warts and all look, is just about 97.5% of what they asked for. The teeny little fact that she left his slightly red eyes and blotchy skin unretouched didn’t cause them to ask their own in-house crew to clean things up a bit, ‘cuz let’s face it…it added that little bit of realism to an otherwise…completely fake portrait! (And just so ya’ know…I’m not pissing up Ms. Greenberg’s leg here…I like her completely fake portraits…Hell, I take completely fake portraits most of the time, so who am I to throw stones?!!) The Atlantic got exactly what they asked for…a Class-A, Number 1, Jill Greenberg Stock Photo of (insert subject’s name here) Portrait! If only she didn’t have that little ‘artistic’ meltdown where she went all Photoshop-crazy and blabbed about how smart she was to PDN…!

    • “…The way I see it, Jill Greenberg attempted to photograph the person underneath the political facade, and she succeeded pretty good…”

    Oooohhh…’Shawn’…there’s that grammar thing again! You really should’a paid more attention in third-grade English! Whatever…when you opine that “she succeeded pretty good…”, are you speaking of the actual cover image, or, and I think this is what you’re referring to, the ‘manipulated’ images she posted on her website after that famous two week embargo ran out?!! If the former, I think I’ve already answered that one in my sarcastic reply above…if the later, then you really need help! Her lame ‘art project’ Photoshopping of the monster-lit McCain photos and her even lamer explanation of how brilliantly she ‘pulled it off’ don’t warrant further discussion time here but if you truly think what she did was inspired, amazing, artful, cute or pithy, then ‘Shawn’, you is really stupid! Now I know that might sound harsh, but I’m sorry ‘Shawn’…it’s true.

    • “…why shouldn’t an artistic photographer attempt to capture the truth of the man as she sees it…”

    Ahhhhh…this one has been bandied about for a couple of days now, but the only real answer is this…SHE WASN’T ASKED BY HER GODDAMNED CLIENT TO EDITORIALIZE!!! Jill Greenberg was hired for one reason only…to take a ‘Jill Greenberg’ cover image! The Atlantic didn’t tell her to shoot a few ‘extra’ shots that made McCain look like he was being cast in a Bela Lugosi-like production of “The Vampire Who Ate Washington”…nor did they expect her to fly in the face of common decency and professional decorum and retouch a monkey taking a shit on the head of a sitting US Senator who just happens to be running for President!

    • “…I’d argue that she has a responsibility to do just that…”


    I’m sorry (and the ‘I’m sorry’ is actually to anyone other than ‘Shawn’ who might be reading this and is expecting me to mercilessly carry on this shooting-ducks-in-a-barrel exercise) but I just can’t go on…the stupidity is making my head hurt just enough so that I realize I’m probably writing to a mouth-breathing wing-nut who, even though he speaks rudimentary English, won’t understand the words in front of him anyway! And besides…I’ve got about 400 RAW files I gotta process, so I will take me leave…..night-night!


  162. @153- I put a call into her earlier and left word bud have not heard back yet. I know she was shooting today.

    @154 – The image on her homepage is the ArtMix announcement and Jill had nothing to do with that.

    @159 – Great post Shawn – I just noticed Brad Trent has responded to you and I just can’t wait to read his post. I wasn’t aware he was such a fascist. All those dinners and who knew?

  163. Did anyone else notice she misspelled “warmonger” as “warmongerer” in the script on one of her images? With all the talk of sophistication, I thought that was hilarious. That would be like calling us “photographerers.” Funny stuff…

  164. How is this art or any kind of statement? Other than “I’m a careless, famous photographer who thinks I am above respecting the wishes of my subjects and my clients.” I don’t buy her attempt at political art for a second.
    She’s a total sellout! The “political act” is totally null due to the fact that she was hired, and took the job to shoot him for the cover, in a dull and typically Greenberg way I might add. If you want to demonstrate that kind of conviction against a political figure then why in the world would you ever take the job in the first place? Especially when you obviously don’t need the job (monetarily speaking). It’s so passive-aggressive.
    The REAL controversial and political act would be for Jill Greenberg-famous photographer, to release a statement that she REFUSES to shoot John McCain and REFUSES to contribute to the publicity of a candidate she doesn’t agree with.
    What she did just seems like a really careless, self-serving, and sloppy attempt at political art.
    As a spring chicken commercial photographer, I really hope most publicists, photo editors, etc. mostly see this as a fluke due to the circumstances. (Egotistical photographer attempting to use her fame as a platform for…bad political art). The magazine shouldn’t be getting the flack either, they can’t be held accountable aside from maybe having vague or insufficient contracts.

    p.s. Jill Greenberg really needs to drop the whole “manipulator” thing, it’s so 5 years ago. What isn’t manipulated by a manipulator nowadays?

  165. Jill was not dropped by her agents.

    I know how it went down because I own the agency that now represents her.

    I have known Jill for many years and have had the pleasure of representing her once before.

    Rarely do you come across a photographer who takes risks, voices their opinion, takes a stance, takes images other than pretty fluffy ones and is willing to put it all on the line, as Jill does. For those of you who are struggling, besides talent – these are some of the ingredients that separate you from the pack and make you a success.

    The Atlantic hired Jill to photograph John McCain. Jill photographed him and The Atlantic chose to publish the magazine with Jill’s image on the cover, as submitted. What she chose to do with the images, after they were out of embargo, is her expression of a constitutional right – ” To express or publish one’s opinions or those of others.”

    I do not believe The Atlantic had no inkling of Jill’s political views. I suspect they knew and got the results they wanted – publicity and increased sales.

    Jill has been around a long time and will be around as a working, successful, thoughtful, provocative, opinionated photographer/artist because Jill is not a tin solider, she walks to her own beat.

    Bruce Kramer

  166. oh, btw, I totally feel you @#7 Dude.
    It’s so outlandish it almost seems like a Republican ploy to further enforce the “loony left” stereotype.

    Come on, lets see some real revolution.

  167. She’s the Ann Coulter of the photo world! Except instead of trying to pass herself off as an intellectual to be taken seriously (though there is some of that too) she’s trying to pass herself off as an artist to be taken seriously.
    In this case, pissing off the Republicans and embarrassing the Democrats…thankssssss Jill

  168. #167 Bruce Kramer, thanks for your inspiring comments. I’m marching to my own drum, starting tomorrow. You left this thought out of your sermon: “and I intend on making lots of money representing Jill Greenberg”

  169. Jill is the crying baby in her crying baby series. Someone, please buy her a new pacifier.

  170. @170 – ““and I intend on making lots of money representing Jill Greenberg”

    What exactly do you think the purpose of being in business is for? And is there any particular reason you are using a name that makes it sound like you’re five years old?

  171. I’m going to close the comments and delete if people just plan on leaving insults.

  172. I think she is an amazing photographer and i admire her but why did she took the images off her site? I mean if she is really convinced of her view why take it off? Was she pressured?
    Only Jill knows.

  173. Bruce, as Greenberg’s new rep, I was wondering if you were going to use the, um, “portrait” of McCain with the bloody shark’s teeth in her book, but now that all the “images other than pretty fluffy ones” – the ones of McCain where she “put it all on the line” – are no longer on her website, I guess I know the answer. Coincidence?

  174. wow, you need to hand to the greenberg woman for hanging in there. she must be packing a pair as large as mccain’s. last night, her splash was the chicken and the words removed mccain pictures while we prepare legal action, so this is not over. she must have needed that fifteen hundred dollar fee. and dont you know that somewhere right now, terry richardson is sitting in a bar, grumbling to himself that he’s now been dethroned as the bad boy of magazines. he’s plotting his return. for his next assignment, he’ll show up to the photo session wearing an actual chicken suit, but with shark teeth and blood on the mouth, and he’ll shoot one polaroid, spit the blood on the subject, and silently leave the room. people will applaud, and he’ll be back as top dog. and right now, art school students sit in coffeehouses around the country, trying to scheme up ways to one-up greenberg. a simple shitty editorial assignment has now been instantly transformed into a challenge for performance art. what will the future bring? and the academy award goes to dweiss and the autozone woman for the ability to spin a story into immeasurable gain. what imagination. the ultimate performance art of putting lipstick on a pig. only fortysome days to go before the election. it only gets better from here boys and girls. make sure and rehearse your act before your next editorial job, and make sure you have a video camera on hand to document it for youtube. because in the end, its only about promotion.

  175. @176 – In all seriousness, your post is really interestingly written.

    “because in the end, its only about promotion.”

    not entirely, but it is an oversized piece of the pie. Never forget – this is the country that bought the pet rock.

  176. george winniford wins the thread.

    i’ll just say one thing in response though–he seems to contradict himself saying up front “jill has a pair of balls [ed. note–i’m pretty sure they’re ovaries]” but then later saying “it’s all for promotion.”

    why are people so uncomfortable that what she did (whether right or wrong, whether agree or disagree with the methods) she did out of a sense of belief in her ideals? are we all so cynical that we can’t even consider that possibility?

  177. Hmmmm.

    Interesting stuff for a non-photographer. Personally I code websites so my interests are in another field entirely but the window this blog has opened up on the professional photographer is invaluable.

    Frankly I’m astonished that any subject would allow a situation where they wouldn’t have a legal contract with the photographer and where the subject doesn’t own the results of the shoot. If the McCain campaign had done both then this situation could never have happened.

    *shrug* but that’s just my opinion, and I’m not a photographer so take it for what it’s worth.

  178. Brilliant. For the first time in years I hear of a photographer on the power wielding end of a story. Relevant. Ethics aside, its overdue. I feel less like a commodity already.

  179. It seems there are two main positions regarding Jill Greenberg’s controversial McCain pictures

    (a) One group of people is focusing entirely on professional ethics and proper obedience to the professional norms of behavior. And some like Brad are deeply concerned not just about adherence to professional standards of behavior, but also adherence to rules and standards of spelling, punctuation, and grammar (as if full and complete internalization of rules and standards was the key component of moral integrity as well as the penultimate test of human intelligence).

    (b) The other side is looking at Jill Greenberg’s photos as an example of self-expression and artistic license. These people think she is well within her rights as an artist to create and exhibit whatever she likes, that it’s a matter of free speech, Jill’s freedom to express herself fully with her particular medium.

    Was a professional ethical standard violated by Jill Greenberg? Yes. I think that’s pretty well settled because, clearly, the vast majority of photo editors do believe that Jill has committed a violation of trust, and the majority establishes what the professional standard is. So that’s resolved, and the photo editor community can gang up on Jill and shame her and try to cast her out for their tribe and categorize her as a debase and immoral hack of a person. That’s fine. But I think they’re overlooking the value of art that offends and alarms, of art that excites the social fabric by going beyond our established moral tolerance level.

    What’s the most shocking John McCain picture that Jill Greenberg has produced? It’s the one with McCain and the bloody shark’s teeth. A shocking and horrific image, totally over-the-top and grotesque. Some reply that she mislead her model John McCain and therefore is an immoral hack. Well no, probably the photo is just an honest expression of her own moral outrage against John McCain’s promotion of war, and more importantly her outrage against war itself. War is a terrible thing, and real war doesn’t look like flags and TV interviews with pundits and heroic old guys who endured extremely unfair captivity. Real war looks like a bloody sharks mouth. A person who sees war as something less than bloody and startling is probably so hopelessly indoctrinated that war makes them feel good and noble and stoic and ballsy. War is a kind of murder of innocents as well as criminals simultaneously. Soldiers, fathers, mothers, children receive terrible injuries; they suffer amputations; they die in the dust and debris. That’s what war is. Human families are torn apart. Its perfectly appropriate and even necessary for an artist to remind us of that. And sure her image is deeply unsettling, and I don’t like it, and I don’t see how anyone could like it, and yet I know that it is historical and timely. And it’s succeeding very well as “shock art” in that it’s exciting the social fabric and getting people unsettled in their chairs and inspiring a lot of healthy discussion about art, professional ethics, bloodshed, and thanks to Brad’s recent input, the truly awesome importance of proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar when posting opinions on blogs. So uhm yes… The picture of McCain with shark teeth is sickening. It’s startling to see the visual crassness and in a way, it’s element of professional misconduct adds substantially to its overall visual impact. The outrage someone experiences towards Jill and her willful act of disobedience is nothing compared to the outrage she experiences towards war, and to the certainty of additional wars if John McCain becomes the commander in chief.

    As a professional she has an obligation to her employer, her client, her model, yes. But she also has an obligation to society to avoid compromising herself when matters of the highest importance appear to be at stake, and war is that sort of issue. If any issue is that important, then so is war. Was she unethical towards McCain? Sure was. Was she unethical towards the Atlantic? No, they’re happy as clams about the controversy. Was she unethical towards her agency? From her perspective, no. Seems that she really did, perhaps naively, believe that she would be completely supported by her agency. She was under the impression that her agency contracted with her, not as a regular grade photo editor, but as an especially gifted photo editor to create varieties of intriguing and even boundary pushing photo manipulations. But to her dismay, it turned out that she was not contracted as such. Her agency did not consider her a photo editor with substantial artistic freedom, but as someone whose function was to create aesthetically pleasing and politically correct photo manipulations for hire. Fair enough. Plenty of people would be quite happy with that, but she’s not, and she’s talented enough as an artist to not have to be.

    Note: The title on the Atlantic magazine was “Why war is his answer.” The implied title on Jill Greenberg’s piece is “Why it shouldn’t be” or maybe “Why war is not the choice of a mother.”

  180. i’m kind of in love with what she did.

    as a photographer? no. as an artist? yes, as a woman? YES, as an American? HELL YES.

  181. Shawn @181:

    1. Correct grammar IS a lost art. And, it only feeds into the negative impression that the world has of Americans when we add the inability to speak or spell correctly. It is frankly embarrassing.

    2. Her agency did not contract her as a photo editor. They didn’t even contract her. (I think that you are confused between the magazine contracting her services for a shoot, and her agency who represents her work to the world). An agency works with a photographer as a partner – a team of sorts. And both sides are expected to act ethically and within the rules as they are legally bound. If one side errs, both sides are legally vulnuerable. Any agency that WOULDN’T dump a photographer who would pull a stunt like this is insane. And it could ONLY be the move of a desperate agency who needs the attention in order to hopefully better pay their bills that would take such a photographer on.

    3. Her images of John McCain aren’t only shocking because of the shark teeth or the blood or the words. They are shockingly bad images, and thus have created more of a Perez Hilton scandal for herself than an artistic statement comparable, by any means, to Avedon, Da Vinci or Eisenstaedt.

  182. One last point on this subject. There is a lot to read up above, and I’m not so sure anyone has mentioned what I am about to.

    The title of Robs post is “Jill is not afraid to dump all her clients at once.”

    I don’t think she is. She *might* be dumping just her editorial clients.

    We all know what magazines pay as a day rate. $500-2000 per day. Not much.

    I see her primarily as an advertising photographer, and don’t imagine her suffering in the ad world because of these McCain photos. Advertising photographers of her caliber are taking home $10,000 and up per shoot.

    I represent a couple photographers that simply won’t shoot editorial because the fees are too low. They think it is a hassle to work for $500 per day and they don’t think they get anything for their books by shooting it.

    Maybe Jill doesn’t want to shoot editorial any longer and wanted to end her editorial career with a big bang.

    It’s a possibility and only she knows.

  183. This has been the most un-punk discussion in the history of photography. Your pictures are boring.

  184. @181 – Shawn – another great post and please don’t forget to sign up for my Fundamentals of Grammar class for the fall session.

    @183 – An agency works with a photographer as a partner – a team of sorts.

    This is true. And usually when you are partnering with someone, you actually get to know the person before you are willing to do any kind of partnering. Which is why I find your next statement so revealing:

    “Any agency that WOULDN’T dump a photographer who would pull a stunt like this is insane.”

    First, for the record, she was not dumped. Her departure was mutually agreed upon by both parties. It is entirely possible that this situation had nothing to do with it. But that said, Jill had generated a tremendous amount of publicity and notiriety as a result of her “End Times” body of work, which too was political in nature. Do you think her agents weren’t aware of that? They knew who Jill was as a photographer when they hired her so I suspect the departure actually was in the works before this. Personally, if I were still an agent and I believed in the photographer (and that was the only kind I represented as an agent) I would be standing behind them 100%.

    Your belief that an agency would have to be insane not to dump the photographer tells me that a) your definition of partnership is different than others and b) that you’ll represent photographers who, although may be very competent and even very good, will not upset the apple cart in any way. If that’s the case you will never have any trouble finding talent to represent.

    But Jill is not one of those photographers to leave the apples in place. At her core (no pun intended) Jill is an artist, she is not a commercial photographer and there are huge differences between the two. The mentality, the understanding of conceptualism and the fulfillment of the concept is something that is not necessarily intrinsic to commercial photographers.

    “And it could ONLY be the move of a desperate agency who needs the attention in order to hopefully better pay their bills that would take such a photographer on.”

    This remark is just plainly mean spirited and other than your own opinion (which you are certainly entitled to) is there anything else this can be based upon? Whether or not you like Jill’s work, she is one of the few photographers who have taken ownership of a style and can be considered one who set a trend. How many photographers get to be in that position? Very, very few.

    “They are shockingly bad images, and thus have created more of a Perez Hilton scandal for herself than an artistic statement comparable, by any means, to Avedon, Da Vinci or Eisenstaedt.”

    Again – this is simply your opinion. Art is totally subjective. And what a disparate trio you’ve chosen.

    But since you’ve mentioned Avedon I wonder if you and others would be equally upset over his tactics used when photographing the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Concerned that he wouldn’t be able to create any kind of meaningful portrait because of their lack of emotion and personality, and the fact that they had their “royal faces” on, out of desperation he told them his cab had just run over a dog. Knowing they loved dogs (apparently more than certain segments of human society), their faces fell, the Duchess’ eyes got watery and he took the picture. Trick? No – flat out lie.

  185. @183 – A couple of corrections:

    Notoriety was misspelled.

    “They knew who Jill was as a photographer when they hired her so I suspect the departure actually was in the works before this.”

    This should read “…when they signed her…

  186. It’s just a picture. It’s just a photograph. It’s not ruining our economy. It’s not sending young men and women to other countries where they’re being killed by the thousands. It’s not flooding coastal cities. It’s not wanting to take the choice away from women about whether they can have an abortion or not. It’s not weakening the U.S. dollar. It’s not stealing millions from the American people right under their noses. It’s not overheating the planet or underpaying this country’s teachers. It’s not denying people healthcare. It’s not keeping the poor poor and the rich rich. It’s not price gouging you at the gas pump. It’s not keeping this country dependent on oil.
    Seriously. It’s just a damn photograph of a guy. A guy who can potentially do a lot more damage to this country than any photographer ever could by not removing the red from his eyes.

  187. […] All of this is ok, since it affects only Jill. But there is a reaction from the Atlantic, and a ripple effect with the rest of the editorial world, that will touch all editorial photographers. It will now be harder for a new photographer to shoot any high profile piece in any magazine. The screening process will be more strict, with revised photographers agreements, and less flexibility for the artists.  It will in general become harder than it already is for any photo editor to help a new photographer begin a relationship with an editorial client, and ultimately hurt the quality of the end result. Rob Haggart has a good sketch out the industry fallout from this here. […]

  188. I posted this on another forum, but I wanted to post it here too….

    I think we’ve all gotten a little hot headed over this topic. Some of us support what Jill did and some of us didn’t. I think what most of us who were offended by Jill’s actions were not what she did with the pictures, but rather how she went about it, and her comments afterwards.

    I think it was unprofessional of her to take advantage of a job she was hired to do, because when we get hired for a job we’re part expressing the person’s view who hired us and a bit of our opinion.

    She could have expressed her opinion in other ways like booking her own time for her own project to take pictures of McCain instead of using the magazine’s time. Or even showed up to one of his campaigns and took some shots there and then photoshop them.

    But that’s just how I feel. Lets just respect everyone’s opinion and see what we can learn from this incident. For me I learned about actions and consequences. What did you learn?

  189. In all of the back and forth over this, syndication hasn’t really been addressed Vaughn Hannigan is the agency that represented Jill for commissioning, August (also owned by said Hannigan) is still syndicating her work. I don’t get it, if you part ways publicly over politics, why continue to line the pockets of the person you parted ways with?

    Had Jill stayed quiet and had August push the images aggressively to the international market, she would have made a lot of money, which was the reason initially for the 2 week embargo. So the images could be resold before the election was up.

    Instead she made a political decision and statement, I’m not going to argue if it was the right or wrong one, but I do wonder… If she was Terry Richardson, or one of the male portrait photographers who are expected to be rebellious, anti-establishment and kick ass, would there be so much hoopla?

    I tend to think not.

  190. @186 – my response to JP @188 should partially answer your concerns over my perceived mean-spiritedness.
    @188 – I DO feel that what Jill has done has hurt our Country and has hurt good people (potentially ruining our economy, sending our young to war, taking away our rights as women, weakening our dollar, overheating the planet, etc..) because her actions only helped John McCain’s campaign. And frankly, that does make me angry. Well, livid really. (Not to mention the fellow photographers, Photo Editors, Art Buyers and Reps that she stabbed in the back with her stunt).
    Jill’s actions have, unfortunately, done the opposite of what the implied intentions were… It created empathy for John McCain; and it gave people who may have been on the fence a reason to go the other way. There are a scary number of Democrats and Independents who are unfortunately on that fence, and losing those votes could lose us the election.
    To be base in our actions will NOT help our cause – a cause that has integrity and a cause that can hopefully turn our Country around. To take base actions only feeds into the finger pointing from the right, and makes us look like asses.
    So, in the end, I am left feeling that what Jill Greenberg did was narcissistic, self serving, and base, with no thought for who she hurt. And to bring it full circle – Debra Weiss – in my eyes, the agency that takes her on the DAY AFTER the controversy and parades a promo of her work calling her a maverick while selling itself as an agency that represents COMMERCIAL artists, makes that agency the National Enquirer in this picture.

  191. This whole incident is more amusing than anything. The atlantic’s “outrage” (especially the rebuttal piece penned by the writer) is so effete and smarmy. I bet a bunch of extra issues fly off the shelf before it all passes into obscurity 30 days later.

    Well at least now, a few more people have even heard of the atlantic monthly.

    Unprofessional? I guess.

    Who cares? Really. Does anyone think this will have some sort of lasting impact? Please. Publicists needs people to fawn over their client too, otherwise they’re not really doing their job.

    Oh and this mark tucker fellow who has decided you can be “commercial” or “an artist” needs to quit sucking off the bottle of his own self-importance and get off the blog and into the real world more. Who are you? And who cares who you are?

    Sorry to be rude, but honestly people…

  192. Craig,

    Tucker is a friend of mine and he is a much better and well rounded shooter than Jill Greenberg. Your comments about Mark are off base and frankly, snippy for no reason.

    Jill is known for her stunts and has left a trail of tears before. A former rep of mine repped her and was extremely displeased with the way she left NY and left her holding the bag for a significant amount of money.

    Her actions have affected this industry. Who gives a rats ass about Jill and her self-importance. Her actions made celebrities, publicists, politicians and art directors/picture editors aware of the possibility of betrayal by a photographer.

    There have been shoots cancelled this week over this incident. There are guidelines being drawn up by editorial clients that will require more control, more vetting and longer embargoes on material shot.
    God only knows what publicists are dreaming up now.

    Don’t think for a second that this does not affect this industry. What Jill did is the equivalent of being a traitor. I personally hope I never hear her name or see her photographs again.

  193. @ craig: you’ve obviously not worked at or for a magazine. i’m sure to outsiders it’s of no concern.

  194. meow meow meow! the skiez is falling! mean ole greenberg fucked it up for us! i blame greenberg for my failures!

    i don’t know who mark tucker is, or what he shoots. Don’t really care. I just read his post and a couple others and yawn. Another grumpy photographer with a keyboard and a magic crystal ball that lets him see into the far future, and still bitches about what younger more daring people are doing.

    the only reason the industry apparently sucks for photographers (I don’t know about that… I’m doing pretty well this year…) is maybe because you’re afraid to suck it up and say no, I won’t accept these shitty terms?

    I’ve had more than a couple stupid contracts come my way. I just say “well i’m available, but if you want me to do it, this is how our deal is going to look”. And lo, it works.

    It works because so often the editors don’t bother to send the contract until the day before the scheduled shoot, and its a way bigger risk to them to have to try and locate someone on short notice.

    Same goes for publicists. Some of you fear and loathe them unnecessarily. Their job is to get publicity for their client. Being a pain in the ass to the media people makes that difficult.

    You have more power than you think.

    Quit your bitching and stop being pansies when it comes to your work.

  195. Craig

    You claim to be in this industry and you don’t know who Tucker is? What planet are you on?

    Dude, do some research before you start mouthing off. Go look at Tuckers site and history.

    Your comments are beyond absurd. Jill pissed in the pool and you don’t even understand the magnitude of her actions and how it will affect this industry.

    Going after Tucker for blogging about the problems Jill created and what he (and others) have learned from this mess does nothing other than minimize any potential insight you may have been able to offer.

  196. of course, greenberg has every right to make weirdo photos as long as it doesn’t violate her agreement with those involved.

    however, as a working professional photographer, I just wanted to say that it seems to me that greenberg abused the trust of those who hired her and of the mccain campaign. she had a right to do so, but I think it’s unprofessional.

    my two big beefs:

    1) she smeared a client in the name of her political statement. very unprofessional.

    2) her statement isn’t even interesting as an image. c’mon. fangs and blood? isn’t that what we all did in fourth grade with photos of our math teacher?
    even in our protest, aren’t we photographers supposed to be creative?

  197. @ mr (or ms.) 196:

    Yup. And I’ve shot many a cover and campaign. No idea who he is. Sorry. All I see is some paternalistic guy who goes on about how “young photographers should sit up and listen”.. meow meow meow. please. Maybe he’s a great photographer, but those are his words.

    I’m not trying to get across any insight… just having a few random thoughts about the manufactured outrage and rampant unnecessary fear about “the rules” that pervades any internet commentary on the photography business.

    i wonder how many hours have been spent typing about what you “should” and “shouldn’t do” that would’ve been better spent just doing something.

    i don’t expect anyone at all to sit up and pay attention… i’m certainly not that self absorbed :)

    …but I do have a full calendar, for whatever thats worth.

  198. @190 – “I don’t get it, if you part ways publicly over politics, why continue to line the pockets of the person you parted ways with?”

    Who said they parted ways over politics? As I said @186, it very possible this situation had absolutely nothing to do with their parting ways. It sounds like the wheels were put in motion prior to this.

    @191 – “Jill’s actions have, unfortunately, done the opposite of what the implied intentions were… It created empathy for John McCain; and it gave people who may have been on the fence a reason to go the other way”

    Mmmm. And she did this singlehandedly. You evidently haven’t been watching the news because Obama is leading by 5 points and there are stories all over the airwaves and in the papers about how Sarah Palin is NOT attracting the female vote as they had hoped.

    So – maybe we should attribute Obama’s lead to Jill the same way so many of you are convinced she was going to be responsible for his loss. Maybe enough people saw her pictures and captions and were upset when they found out he called his wife a cunt in public, and that he voted against MLK Day. Yep, I’m sure this is the reason for Obama’s bump. Please – this is just too funny.

    “So, in the end, I am left feeling that what Jill Greenberg did was narcissistic, …”

    Of course she’s narcissistic – that’s what artist’s are, along wth almost all of humanity.

    “in my eyes, the agency that takes her on the DAY AFTER the controversy and parades a promo of her work calling her a maverick while selling itself as an agency that represents COMMERCIAL artists, makes that agency the National Enquirer in this picture.

    See the beginning of this post. You use the word commercial here as if it’s dirty. Of course, that in addition to her gallery representation, she would be with an agency that procures commercial work.

  199. @mr. photo editor

    Never worked for a magazine? You’d be wrong, sir.

    I respect your opinions and your website, I think its interesting. But you know what they say about assumptions…

    now it wasn’t my intention to get this off topic of ms. greenberg, I only wanted to provide an anti-sky-is-falling opinion.

    sorry if my posts have caused controversy of their own :)

  200. It amazes me on how this topic has become so convoluted with rhetoric and/or justifiable attempts of same, many bunny trails of merit less worth to the true relevance. It is not about political agenda’s, nor should the client have ever been brought into ones political beliefs.

    I too am a professional photography and I would like to think, astute businessperson as well. Judging from some of the prior posts, I guess I must now be a terrible photographer because I some how believe something very different, from what others have suggested and Jill’s own words. I know, I guess I won’t last much longer in the industry as, I still believe the client reserves the right to still be the customer. I know, I must be an idiot because I believe in conducting myself in a manner that does not deface the client that hired me. If my client can only reserve a 15 minute slot, I will make sure to get as many shots as I can so that the client has other options, I like to think of this, also, as suggestive selling of more print. Nonetheless, the client reserved the 15 minutes and NOT the photographer. I would never boast about how I screwed my client over because they didn’t research me: Please help me understand how that is not going to change the industry?

    Throw all of the insults that you want, spin it in to political rhetoric or just keep going off message. The truth of the matter: “Our clients are not stupid!! One made a mistake and got burned royally so, don’t think that they are suddenly stupid and will open themselves up to possible public humiliation again!” Due “DIRECTLY” to how Jill bragged about how she purposely screwed her client and used their 15 minute schedule, for her own agenda: Contracts will change and in this evolving market place of digital photography, we will see contractual alterations.

    I know, someone now is going to assume that I am just some idiot photographer and state that it is suppose to somehow release me from the relevance of this conversation or position in the industry. There use to be a saying in journalism, “the person that yells the loudest and has the most insults, is normally the one that has the most to hide”. Still, I think Jill screwed all photographer’s as now all client’s have to be worried about being screwed, in the same way. Granted, I have a great working relationship with my clients but don’t think for one second that I haven’t heard their fears and even had them ask for my advise on how I think they can protect themselves from another Jill like situation. I will stick with my own naive mission statement and the greater part of it is; “The client is still the customer!” This is hard to explain but, the tail does not wag the dog…

    Please do not use me in another one of those political reply’s, as I am not ADD enough to loose focus on the real topic of publicly humiliating the client. Anything other than that is smoke out the back door while the real issue is the fire in the front door. I just cannot get over it, who is anyone that they can hate one person so much that they feel it is ok to destroy an innocent party? It is not guts it is what is wrong with this country, to many people have their own agenda and will take advantage of anyone to get attention on themselves. Controversy is not art, art is controversy.

  201. Am I the only person who is wondering…

    1. Who is Debra Weiss?
    2. Why is she so vocal on this topic?
    3. Why she seems to ALWAYS have the last word on everything?

    Just wondering…

  202. Sometimes you have to play devil’s advocate,
    even if just for a little while and even if you’re wrong,
    to better help provide others with a truly balanced perspective.

    “Does the Truth Matter Anymore?”

    “Boy, do I miss the old John McCain and wonder what became of him. And I wonder if the media will really take on this onslaught of half-truths and outright deception.”

    “All the Sad Young Journalists Who Used to Love John McCain”

    “On the whole, the journalists who’ve TURNED AGAINST their former boyfriend John McCain are some of our least favorite journalists in the nation, embodying as they do everything insular and adolescent about the Washington Press Corps. They loved John McCain when he could convince them that he was only bullshitting to the voters, not to them. Now, he won’t speak to them! And hey, he’s lying about shit, too, but whatever.”

  203. If I were some of Jill’s other advertising clients, I would be wondering if she would do the same thing with out takes. Like would she come out with an anti-smoking pic with pics taken for Philip Morris, or create something for MADD with pics from one of her alcohol clients shoots.

  204. x no one important
    Deb schwartz’s is one of the best agent in the west coast, deb weiss is a well know respected person in this business(just google her name) and if you attack Rob you just didn’t understand a thing about this business.
    As far as Mr Tucker i wouldn’t compare him to Greenberg and i wouldn’t compare her to let’s say a Platon.
    But who are you? You are offending ppl here, show us your work so maybe we learn something…

  205. After working with the creative Jill Greenberg herself, she is a true artist. She is making a statement. Although many people may disagree with the way she went about it… lets be real, it is the responsibility of the magazine to check and double check the photographer, and make the contract for every shoot they do. This was a simple shoot that they [The Atlantic] did not take every part into consideration.

    Jill’s work is art, and controversial at times. It speaks for itself, and every person has their point of view about art. It just so happens that this art-work is of a politician and makes a larger awareness, than say her “End Times” pieces.

    By everyone making comments about this work, its only helping to bring more awareness to her work! Any publicity is good publicity.

    Go Jill!

  206. awesome that craig mcdean chimed in.

  207. This reminds me of the Winona Ryder shoplifting fiasco. Any publicity is good publicity!?! Only time will tell if her work can live up to her McCain stunt. She is definitely one of the lower end celebrity photographers out there. She does not have the “it” quality of a Leibovitz, White, or Lachapelle.

    It would not surprise me if she was pro McCain. One, she gets a little media attention for her career, and secondly she makes McCain look like a victim.

    Artmix now reps her, so maybe her selfish stunt will payoff.

  208. This wouldn’t be a story if she had only photographed Sarah instead.

  209. According to Apple’s Oxford American Dictionaries..

    avant-garde |ˈavänt ˈgärd; ˌavä n |

    noun (usu. the avant-garde)
    new and unusual or experimental ideas, esp. in the arts, or the people introducing them : works by artists of the Russian avant-garde.

    favoring or introducing such new ideas : a controversial avant-garde composer.

    avant-gardism |-ˌdizəm| noun
    avant-gardist |-dist| noun

    ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting the vanguard of an army): from French, literally ‘vanguard.’ Current senses date from the early 20th cent.


    this year’s avant-garde fashion statement
    innovative, original, experimental, left-field, inventive, ahead of the times, cutting/leading/bleeding edge, new, modern, innovatory, advanced, forward-looking, state-of-the-art, trend-setting, pioneering, progressive, Bohemian, groundbreaking, trailblazing, revolutionary; unfamiliar, unorthodox, unconventional; informal offbeat, way-out.

    antonym conservative.

  210. Patrick@211. A major component of Avant -Garde is the subsequent exploitation of the act/art by the masses. We shall see in this case.

  211. @207….. I don’t think you should attribute Craig’s comments to Craig Mcdean, without knowing if it’s really him.

    @205 Max, can you confirm that Deb, is actually Deb Schwartz? I thought she always posted as Deb Schwartz?

    Again, there are those that are against what Jill did and those that are being supportive. I think she broke the cardinal rule of being a PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER. She tricked McCain and mocked the people who were there with him as not being sophisticated enough to know what she was doing with the lights. Sorry Debra Weiss, I think that is a disgrace. It’s no different to Paparazzi tactics in getting a picture, in-fact I think the Paparazzi at least can be identified, caught and their camera’s can be smashed by people whose life they intrude into. Jill Greenberg, is no better than a shoplifter!!! As another poster described her as!!!!! Be it a star photographer, shoplifter, like Wynona!

    I wish people would stop calling her a “True Artist” that’s just such a load of
    Crap! I am working in a very Established Ny photographers studio as a assistant, and Jill Greenberg’s name is nothing but “MUD” right now. If she quit editorial to do Advertising, she lost her marbles! Maybe she has enough money not to care!!! The photographer I work for, was doing a shoot for a prominent NY Magazine and had to sign papers he never had to before!!! He is pretty upset…..

    According to the team of people I have been working for, JG had better start doing more work for galleries, as Advertisers, even if they agree with her hatred
    for McCain, despise what she did!

    Artist, for every Jill Greenberg, there are 10 other great photographers out there, even more….. She’s a great re-toucher, I will give her that!!!! Nothing she does, is art though, because the staff retoucher that works here can do exactly what she does……and if advertisers want that affect most decent photographers can give them that!!! The general public won’t know who JG is anyway!!!! This was just one of her cry baby stunts, to attract attention to herself…. Professional?
    NO WAY….. Lets see how long ART MIX hold on to her for, until she becomes a liability to them as well……

  212. re: @ 5. Timothy Gray: I might agree if it had been done at the shoot and not in post. Where’s the creativity in that?

    your right Rob,
    All I can say is Arnold Newman’s Portrait of (ex-nazi sympathizer) German industrialist Alfried Krupp July 6, 1963 in Essen, Germany. Tasteful internal commentary by the photographer.


  213. p.s

    As the story goes (according to my good friend and former Newman assistant Ralph Smith), upon finding out that Newman was a Jew, after being assigned make his portrait, Krupp refused to let him make the photograph. Newman insisted to have Krupp look at his portfolio before making a final decision and after seeing Newman’s portfolio Krupp accepted. Arnold Newman then decided to make Krupp look as evil as possible, and the results are just that. Apparently, after the photo shoot when Krupp first saw the portrait he was livid, and you can see why.

  214. Very fitting that her web site is called manipulator.com. All she is doing is trying to manipulate people to her side of the table. She is just another liberal who is against something and not for something. Life is much better when we are for something and not just against something.

  215. I am not, nor do I intend on, having conversation about Jills skills as a photographer. The main thing that concerns me is how her unprofessional actions have impacted the group to which she belongs. It is one thing to be competitive but a completely different matter when it has such a negative impact on the entire industry of professional photographer’s, advertiser’s and publisher’s.

    She was very immature in the way that she went about it and even more about bragging about how she also screwed the client over. Yes, I know, someone is going to toss that lame excuse of how the client got their one shot, at me. When the client sets up the shoot, the photographer also represents the image of that client, period!! Granted, the subject is not the client and in some cases, a photographer may want to pass on an assignment. The issue is not just how she tricked the subject, it is how she purposely screwed the client and the image of more ethical professional photographer’s.

    This is not about politics; it is about the impact that her actions now have on the industry. Sure, some are going to attack the people that are now experiencing the negative impact, while others are going to talk about how she came out on top in this. Good for Jill, I couldn’t be happier for her. I guess we should all now thank her for creating an environment where we are already seeing more restrictions, via contractual agreements, that are the direct response of a more protectionist image defense from the potential use of any copycat JB syndromes.

    As Jodi wrote: “The photographer I work for, was doing a shoot for a prominent NY Magazine and had to sign papers he never had to before!!!” I am also seeing the same thing. So, I guess her actions are justifiable and we should praise her for setting this new environment that we now “have” to work in?

    Again, I am not talking about the quality of her shots or what she shoots, I don’t care anymore. I am only talking about how her bragging has screwed the entire publication industry to a more protective state from all pro photographers.

  216. edit: “copycat JB syndromes” should read: “copycat JG syndrome”

  217. Why are we thinking about ourselves and the industry so much. OK, OK I get it. The industry is more restrictive and sucks now. What about the victim, John Mccain, and what if that was you or me that she did that to? The real story in my opinion is simple respect for others no matter what our views are. If we all had a little of that in us, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion right now. So is Jill Greenburg just another one of the freak job people that Barak Obamah is linked to like Reverend White and Jim Johnson? Just wondering…

  218. Anybody who tries to justify this by saying she is an artist who is just trying to express herself, or that the world needs more people like this is out of their mind!

  219. As others have noted the pictures of McCain and the crass statements attached to them have been removed from JG sites. As far as I am concerned, and I wonder how many of you will agree. It’s very simple, if it was working for her and the clients were calling her agent with compliments and support those pictures would still be up!!! Money Talks! Her agent more than likely told her, it’s not working, do you want to work again? I found her along with those statements to be tasteless and JG, didn’t come across some super talented artist making a statement. She can across as CRASS and Low Class!
    AND what was the art? with her personal views and his quotes plastered all over the photographs!!!! Lets see how long it takes for people to forget her huge display of EGO!!!! I am not a McCain supporter, I just don’t think he deserved the treatment he got from JG and her overinflated ego! disgracing the professionals out there! When people compare what Avedon did to the Duke and Duchess, it was completely different. Photographers shake rattles when they shoot babies! She should have told McCain she hated him and his politics and then taken her shot!!!!!

  220. jodi

    according to jill’s site, (click on the “news” section) she has several new jobs since the controversy. so all your “insider” info seems to be wrong.

    as well, she has a museum show of her work in her “art” section (or whatever it’s called–that’s a pretty convoluted website) at a major collection. so for all the chit chat above about whether or not she’s an artist, the conversation is moot. she’s been vetted and found to be an artist by the art world.

    indeed, this article (i’m getting obsessed and need to stop) pretty much defends JG 100% and it’s on artnet, a very serious art website. sorry if i take their word more seriously than some of the others above, but they have actual cachet in the industry.


  221. @222. I never said it was insider info, it’s what I heard from client’s on a shoot, whilst assisting a established photographer in nyc. It’s the general feelings from the advertising industry. Of-course not all of them! Just the ones this photographer speaks and deals with!!! Like the biggest 10 in the city!!!! I’d like to see how much time goes by, when a P&G or a Visa, MC hire JG for their next campaign……She can do all the art work she likes, and get a pat on her back for it by the artistic community. I am sure she is busy, re-touching her images! My point was, by what I am hearing, and I am a freelance assistant, working for many photographers in NYC…. The general consensus is that no one will hire her for advertising work, not for now at least! and that’s where the money is!!!!! People who didn’t know her personally, like myself, might have admired her work in the past, now I just don’t like her! That’s really liberal people!!!! She sounds like a pain to work with, and comes across as being deceptive, please tell me who in their right mind will pick her over the hundred’s well thousands of good photographers out there? Especially when it comes to AD work!!!! Someone said, that maybe
    Benetton will use her, they don’t mind controversy! Someone also said, that this is America, she can move to Europe! Clients wont risk it here! ….. These are all statements I have heard….. It’s beside the point, if it’s ART why did she take it down? Why didn’t she leave it up on her site? I think, and it’s a Guess, and not inside info! Her agent must have told her it was commercial suicide!

  222. one more time jodi–she has new advertising work. she’s getting hired. you are wrong. your clients are wrong. just an FYI if you are going to go around on the internet and say something over and over you should be a bit more careful. you are making assertions rather than asking questions.

  223. @213, 221, 224 Jodi – Please stop making blanket statements that have no foundation about something you are guessing at.

    “Nothing she does, is art though, because the staff retoucher that works here can do exactly what she does……”

    FYI – it’s not about the retouching that makes it art, although it is an integral part of her work. Perhaps when you have a better understanding of what differentiates art from photography that is not art you can comment on it. Until, and even then, I don’t believe you can speak for the whole world as to what is and isn’t art.

    “and if advertisers want that affect most decent photographers can give them that!!! “

    There very may well be plenty of photographers who would gladly copy her work, but here’s a tip – it NEVER looks the same.

    The general public won’t know who JG is anyway!!!!

    Her “End Times” body of work garnered international attention. Anyone who’s ever been in the galleries where she is represented is aware of Jill, not to mention the national and international art shows. Anyone who subscribes to the many magazines where Jill’s photographs are seen on the covers knows who she is. The current piece in ARTNET will also bring this story to the international market.

    “The photographer I work for, was doing a shoot for a prominent NY Magazine and had to sign papers he never had to before!!! He is pretty upset…..”

    By papers I assume you mean contract? What exactly did these “papers” say? And if he was so upset, why did he sign them?

    Those “crass” statements you refer to? It is well documented that McCain called his wife Cindy a cunt in front of reporters. It is also well documented that he returned from Vietnam to find his once beautiful first wife with a changed appearance due to life threatening injuries sustained in a car crash. He cheated on her, picked up Cindy in a bar, divorced the first wife and married the heiress within a month. Now when a woman does that, they call her a gold digger, among many other things.

    Re : the website – Jill had a notice on her site a few days ago that due to ironing out some legal issues, the images were temporarily taken off. It has nothing to do with your assertion that they weren’t working for her.

    “The general public won’t know who JG is anyway!!!!”

    Her “End Times” body of work garnered international attention. Anyone who subscribes to the many magazines where Jill’s photographs are seen on the covers knows who she is. The current piece in ARTNET will also bring this story to the international market.

    “When people compare what Avedon did to the Duke and Duchess, it was completely different.”

    You’re right Jodi – he flat out lied. And he did so because he had to in order to get the shot he wanted just as Jill exercised her right as a photographer and an artist by changing the lighting setup.

    “It’s the general feelings from the advertising industry. Of-course not all of them!

    “The general consensus is that no one will hire her for advertising work…”

    These are contradictory statements that again, have no basis in reality. It sounds like you are repeating the opinions of the people you work for. If you want to hear what an art buyer and other professionals actually think you should attend (if you’re in NYC)http://www.adbase.com/event0908_followtheleader.

    “People who didn’t know her personally, like myself, might have admired her work in the past, now I just don’t like her!

    What exactly does your liking her have to do with admiring her work. Following that logic no one would ever own a Gauguin, Picasso and a myriad of other artists,

    She sounds like a pain to work with, and comes across as being deceptive, please tell me who in their right mind will pick her over the hundred’s well thousands of good photographers out there?

    More assumptions, but congratulations are in order. You’ve just managed to insult every art buyer, photo editor and art director who has ever worked with her, or is hoping to work with her, or, is a fan of her work. It is okay to think before you speak (or write).

    Jill’s error in this is not even what she said to PDN, it how she said it and she is aware of that. I find the reactions from photographers disheartening, frightening and sad. I am truly amazed that so many would blindly attack a fellow photographer for exercising her freedom of expression. It is easy to see how the current administration has been able to do what they’ve done for the past 8 years. If her subject were anybody but a presidential candidate, would the reaction have been the same?

    Please do the country and your profession a favor and grow some spines.

  224. Sorry about the repetitive paragraph above.

  225. Debra, as you may have noted, none of my comments have been directed at the character or artistic quality, that JG is in possession of. I still stand on the premise that the real victim is the client and the collateral damage will be endured through out the industry. However, that is not the reason for this response, to your last statement.

    Before we can preach to others about assumptions or incomplete assertions, we should first police ourselves. When you speak about JM’s actions, after returning from Vietnam, make sure that you also include the fact that he spent 5 of those years in a POW camp. Before anyone can justifiably assassinate the character of any POW, they should first understand what daily torcher really is and experienced at least a very small sample of it. To assassinate any returning soldier’s character change or life changes is a direct insult to all of those who willing put their lives on the line for something that we believe in to or core. To really preach about Patriotism, where a uniform and be willing to risk your life for your country and even those people, in your country, that speak out against ones committed honor. “NO” person is the same after seeing things that most relate to a Hollywood movie, how in the world could a POW be expected to be the exact same person that they were before all of these life-changing horrors?

    Your advice: “Please do the country and your profession a favor and grow some spines”. I take strong exception to this comment. I wish that I knew that it would be as simple as saying, writing or even taking preplanned steps to publicly deface a client. See, I did it the dumb way, broke my back and neck in the line of duty. Years of pain and permanent spinal damage the means I will always live in severe pain, as I refused to live my life diffused by pain medication. So, I guess growing a spine would be a good thing for me as this one is riddled with defects now. Truth of the matter, I would do everything the exact same way again; with the knowledge of how the rest of my life would be impacted. This is part of that honor, dedication to life and country as well as foundation of Patriotism that most people in uniform understands, far greater than the average civilian.

    I am not here to defend JM the politician as much as you “MUST” remember that a character assassination of any POW is an attack on every person who takes steps to put their lives on the line to defend everyone’s right to freedom’s. I spent 3 years in the VA hospitals and knew some of these POW’s. Trust me, know one wants to know what torcher really is at it can keep you awake at night, just knowing. I promise you that water drops on the head are a holiday treat in comparison to what many of our POW’s went through. Try to imagine your teeth being drilled, just to find a RAW nerve. How about having sliver’s of cane forced under your fingernails until the end of the cane comes out at your elbow. Even yet, how about not even being able to hear yourself scream, as the noise is so loud that you go deaf from your own screaming level. Then imagine how you feel when you are in your tiny cell and hear the screams of fellow piers that are in their daily torcher time slot, only you know exactly what is being done to them. This just scrapes the surface as it gets even darker.

    Help me understand how a person is suppose to be the same after 5 years of this, on a daily bases? And how is it ok to take a small tidbit of this, as it serves better that way for a character assassination and political spin, when it really insults thousands of people that have put their lives on the line for this country?

    “Please do the country and your profession a favor and grow some spines.” I think that I have more than earned that status and it sure as hell means a lot more than the context in which you wrote it.

  226. Yea, I know: I have spelling error’s and typo’s all over the place. Please over look them as it touched into a topic that I am pretty emotional about.. Sorry for the terrible use of grammar…

  227. @228 Ben, don’t pay heed to anyone getting upset over grammar and spelling! Sometimes this blog tends to get very pretentious!

    @225 Debra, let me correct my-self, and let me say…. “I don’t think that commercial clients in America are going to want to be linked to Jill Greenberg doing work for them” As she was deceptive in getting the images. “I’

    “I also think that what Avedon did was much fairer as to getting a reaction from them for his image, they were well aware that were being photographed”

    He used a tactic that even his subjects might have appreciated.

    Jill Greenberg, pure and simply cheated and manipulated her subject. Again to clarify
    ” In my opinion she disgraced her profession”

    Whatever JM is, he is a POW, and suffered for 5 years. Yes he left his wife and moved on, let her speak out about it. Why should JG judge him on that? Who is she?

    I’d like to see JG take a picture of Bill with a comment about Monica!!!!!
    She won’t because she is a democrat!!!! She is crossing lines with her own political views, which is fine, with the crying babies…. She told the parents what she was doing……

    My objection is to her deception and the tactics she used, and the statements she made

    As far as mentioning how others feel at my workplace, I don’t think anyone should mind, as these are opinions of AB’s and Clients on a shoot. If JG is as busy as you say, she shouldn’t mind a different opinion here and there. Surely it’s controversy she was looking for?

    I actually stand by what I said, I re-phrase it, I don’t think it’s AB’s and AD’s who make these decisions, I think it’s the client who has the end say, when using a very high profile photographer. So I am not insulting the AB’s and AD’s out there. I am just stating that Clients, by what I have heard, and from which I have formed “my own” opinion, Clients in America, won’t be able to use her, at least not for now.

    I do believe that any presidential candidate deserves a certain amount of respect, especially from a professional photographer who was hired to take a portrait. As far as I am concerned,
    as a democrat I am embarresed to have that in common in with JG.

    I agree art is subjective, everyone to their own, except when an artist exposes other aspects of their personality which they are free to do, some of us can simply choose to no longer admire their body of work…. ie: clients! and of-course myself….. If JM is being so strongly judged for leaving his wife, when she herself is not speaking out. Surely I am free to make my choice of no longer liking her body of work!

    I wouldn’t buy a painting from George Bush either! I am sure if he decided to paint tomorrow some in the art world would call it art!!!!

  228. sorry jodi–thinking you can read the mind of all client everywhere when you are some assistant is just an embarrassment. i’m sure when you are in the board meeting at johnson and johnson or viacom or NBC you will get the info that really let’s us know what’s up. but as of now you have a bunch of speculation and absolutely nothing but idle chit-chat (plus a clear republican bent. there is nothing wrong with that but it clearly colors your opinion more than maybe you understand). your chit chat does not rise to the level of real commentary on this–you should quite while you are [behind] or until you have your first ever meeting with any client who confides anything in you. be sure to get that on the record before you come back.

    and to you and Ben: McCain is running for president of the US, not of the POW community. i’m sorry that he suffered, but it has nothing to do with the kind of foreign policy he will pursue or his environmental initiatives, and it certainly does NOT prevent us from having to vet him most thoroughly. it is simply silly to argue that he gets a pass or a magic vest or whatever.

  229. Well behaved women rarely make history. Good to see that freedom of speech is alive and well. You go Jill.

  230. @230 “no one important”, first off: I really think that you should change that login name to “equally important” as your thoughts and opinions are equally as important as anyone else’s.

    I have a little issue with you but I will keep this on a higher adult level. First, spare me the High School Lecture on our political vetting process and the condescending statement of what office JM is running for. To better my bad use of grammar, in an attempt to take this back above the level of a “silly argument”, I will continue. (By the way, thanks for your positive comments on my terrible grammar Jodi, I was truly embarrassed. I know that I came across as less than erudite) Sorry for the little rabbit trail “equally as important”, I still prefer this name for you, respectfully! What I was trying to say is this: No person has the right or privilege to assassinate the character of a non political person, during the period of life that they were or are suffering from SEVERE trauma, and hold no political office, during this period! This is a major insult to every person that has ever put their lives on the line to protect everyone’s right to define their own character through the protected freedom’s we have.

    Does this mean persons of political stature are open to the ruthless political spin agenda’s, absolutely! Everything that they say and do, while in office, is open and even prior to office is open season; just a long as it does not involve children and periods of severe trauma. Should JM be treated with a bit more respect because he spent 5 years as a POW? You are darned right that he does, as he was offered the chance of leaving torcher early and chose not to. He did this so that others, that have been there longer, could leave first. It is so easy to find spin data on both candidates; we don’t have to resort to such deceptive practices in order to completely demoralize an image of them. I personally feel this: Before anyone feels that they have the right to destroy an purposely destroy the image of a POW, and then brag about how they did it, first spend some time in a POW camp and suffer some of that torcher first. Then, maybe, you have earned the right but I would much rather you just burn the American flag first and call that art as well…

    I am still on you “equally as important”. I read your comments to Jodi and was somewhat confused over your commentary. Let me get this straight: You believe that the merit of ones testimony, of spoken words in their presence, is only validated by their status on some social economic status? I mean, we should measure the worth of a person because they hold a certain position, or that their position is just to far down the food change for us to even listen to them? Kind of kill the messenger type of thing, huh? I have been to some those oppressed countries and I certainly did not like them ; it breaks my heart to see the lives that are stuck in this sort of out dated KGB mentality governments. Why would you preach government yet suppress the true experiences of another person as; “idle chit chat” because their position does not impress you?

    It is apparent that you have either never had an assistant or worked as one, then you would understand their true value and not just dismiss them in such a condescending way. Let me qualify this for you some, as I know that you may want to dismiss this as “idle chit chat” as well. Before becoming a full time pro freelance photographer, I worked in the Business Intelligence and Management Consulting sector for 11 years. I partnered and worked with 3 of the then top 5 management-consulting firms and as a Regional Director; I also had 78 Fortune 500 companies on my list of clients. I know how the business side works and I know the margins that are assigned to PR. Jodi is 100% correct about companies shielding themselves from a potential future PR disaster. It is naïve to think that they would spend large budget’s on PR and just wait for the same thing to happen to them.

    This is the part that really confuses me: Have you ever been President on the United States? Have you been invited to set down and have dinner with either BO or JM? Have they personally debriefed you on their agenda’s and/or policies? I am just wondering because using the same qualifier, that you tossed at Jodi, would that not also mean that anything that you say about JM or BO is nothing more than, “idle chit chat”? I hope not and I would hope that you might rethink the personal attack on Jodi as just an assistant.

    This is the part that really takes the breath… On the front lines of every battle ever fought, men and women died and made the largest sacrifice for this country and had no idea if the person that just expired, next to them, was a Democrat or Republican. Yet, every 4 years, we use this distinction to justify the evil division between party lines. It truly makes me sick as so much is just tossed aside, mainly knowledge. Why isn’t there more attention on Congress and Senate, last I head, everything comes from there and I think their approval rating was 19%?

    2 best things that came from the last 4 Bush years: Made the Carter years look a bit better: Launched JGs career with her baby pictures, funny the parallels 4 years later…

  231. @227 – Ben – I will not get into a dialogue re: the consequences of war – especially that war. No one is assassinating John McCain’s character. Anyone who’s followed McCain’s career knows that he’s done a fine job of that himself. And please don’t turn my comment about growing a spine into something it’s not.

    @231 – Steve Rood – good to see that you’re alive and well too!

  232. The drama continues. Now death threats. And the art world rushing to her defense. But the art world must defend her — defiance and drama mean everything, and it feeds their coffers. Their survival is based on that.

    The PR machine is in overdrive.



  233. @223 Debra, I am very familiar with the tactics of PR and the use of Sun Tzu as a business application. I must say that it does function as an excellent business and political application and will also add; you are very good at it and I do admire and respect your business savvy.

    However- it is rather easy for me to stay on topic and to also not loose brain function on one thing said one way and then later explained a different way, like “I was not doing that”. If I may quote your earlier post: “ @225 It is also well documented that he returned from Vietnam to find his once beautiful first wife with a changed appearance due to life threatening injuries sustained in a car crash. He cheated on her, picked up Cindy in a bar, divorced the first wife and married the heiress within a month. Now when a woman does that, they call her a gold digger, among many other things.” Please help me understand how this is not an incomplete statement and how it is not intended as a character assassination of a then recent POW, one that just returned from suffering severe trauma of 5 years in daily torcher? One cannot unfry an egg.

    Now for the comment that you feel I twisted, again at @225 “Please do the country and your profession a favor and grow some spines”. Is this egg sunny side up or over easy? ☺

    The original topic was about JG’s action and how it affects the client’s. The political spin and dismissal of anyone that’s disagrees, is nothing more that PR tactics; best served as a purpose to camouflage the original deeds by focusing on something, and/or someone, different. I am not even buying the idea that she is sorry because she realizes now that she should have said, in her statement about her client, it differently. She should have never taken her client there at all, especially through public platforms.

    If it were not for what she did to her client, would the photograph manipulation then been ok? Sure it would have, would everyone agree with it? Probably not but that would not have dragged the industry into a PR, more protectionist, situation. Heck, I remember seeing a manipulated photograph of Jimmy Carter, in a shop in Germany, picking his nose. This was during the Reagan/Carter campaigns. No real difference, other than the fact that the photographer did not create a PR nightmare for their client and brag about how they screwed the client over for being stupid.

    The facts are, like it or not, – George Bush was the platform on which JGs career was super started. If it were not for a fancy title and a bold political statement, she would have only had a collection of baby portraits, unique by the act that they were all crying. Granted she is a good photographer and does good work in PS, she has earned that. She may very well of launched her career anyway but I think it would be no different than someone like Dave Hill, who for that style of art, is great at what he does too. Make no mistake, the political statement, that represents that certain collection, is what some now believe that we as artist are all suppose to defend.

    The use of light, in modern photography, can best be attributed to the early Dutch works of artists like: Caravaggio, Bramer, De Hooch, Vermeer and even some of the earlier works of Rembrandt (while he was studying and living in Amsterdam), as well as other’s. I will defend art but I will not defend a political statement that is built on the foundation of exploited crying babies. I respect you Debra and defend your right to your opinions and speech, just ask that you respect mine as well, and you have so far.

    And to quote you one last time: “No one is assassinating John McCain’s character. Anyone who’s followed McCain’s career knows that he’s done a fine job of that himself.” The exact same thing can be said about Jill, this is what we are exercising but not using a political agenda as the crutch. To suggest that anyone that sides with how badly the client was treated, is somehow, not having a spine or not serving our country well? I am simply lost? Are we to defend a person “JUST” because they are considered to be an artist? God I hope not as I hear that Charlie Manson also paints and draws… NO ONE think that I am using this in comparison to JG or any one else as I am only talking about what we are suppose to define and defend!! I am just speaking on the topic of why we are supposed to defend all artist and their actions used to develop a particular sample, even when it includes a PR disaster that we create for our clients in doing so.

    @224 It does not matter what JG did, she does NOT deserve this sort of threat treatment, at all!! Her actions do not justify any sort of invasion into her personal life or family. I hope they catch the idiots that are making these threats soon and put them under the prison, for a very long time!! I will defend her, the person, but I will not defend her business actions towards the client. 2 different things and this also means that I will not defend the end result that some refer to as art. JG does not deserve these threats nor should she or her family have to fear personal safety.

  234. I don’t understand this hate for people that don’t agree with your politics. I’m assigned to photograph people all the time that don’t have the same views as I do. That should not have anything to do with my job. Some I end up liking and some I don’t like on both sides. Jill was willing to hate someone based on what people on her side told her about John McCain, she never gave him a chance. How shallow is that? People looking for votes exploit useful idiots like Jill to do stupid things for them and then run when something like this happens. I do my job and try to do it well but fools like Jill don’t make it easy. I would have had more respect for her if she stood up and confronted the man on what she was told she didn’t agree with, but she doesn’t know why she hates him. She’s a tool and deserves to be shunned! Lame and gutless.

  235. @236 – Clearly, you appear to be not very passionate about politics. Jill is.

    “Jill was willing to hate someone based on what people on her side told her about John McCain, she never gave him a chance.”

    Excuse me – on what people told her? Where exactly do you get your information? Did it ever occur to you that Jill is actually aware of his voting record? There are so many reasons in that record and his actions to dislike him.

    “People looking for votes exploit useful idiots like Jill to do stupid things for them and then run when something like this happens. ‘

    Could you please elaborate on this?

    “I would have had more respect for her if she stood up and confronted the man on what she was told she didn’t agree with, but she doesn’t know why she hates him.”

    How do you know she didn’t say anything to him? Were you present at the shoot? Also, why do you keep implying that Jill was “told” how she should feel about him? Jill Greenberg doesn’t need to be told who she should or should not agree with. I’m sure she’s perfectly aware of why she hates him. I know I am.

  236. WOW Debra, after reading your last post, I am able to now see much clearer. I guess I am a perfect example of how ”even the slowest boat will make it across the river”. I had no idea that passion in politics also includes a real hate of identity. Funny thing about hate, it makes us blind and allows others to lead us like puppets.

    Casey Steele, I like you a lot! I see that you are more involved with your ethics, principals and include a high level of morals: The same that is in your personal life applies to your business standards, work principals and stewardship towards the profession of professional photographers. I like to think that I have your same approach to my work and obligation as a professional photographer.

    Debra, your last post only reinforces the accuracy of the statement made by Casey. As a self appointed Sheppard, you confuse me. On the same note you have helped me to see and better understand your assertions of JGs actions as justifiable and how we should all get together and support her as an artist and her works, as well as commingled deceit for the sake of art. I have decided that you are 100% correct so; I am willing to speak with some acquaintances, in Tehran, and see if they still have room in their gallery for some of the JG recent work. I understand that there was an empty wall next to some of the sketches from Baghdad Bob, another great propaganda artist. If I am ever back there again, I will check out the gallery and give you an update on how well received it is there. I like to look a propaganda art and now that we can clearly define her work appropriately. I am all for supporting it and making sure that it hangs where it belongs. Thanks for clueing me onto the fact that it was truly hate art that she was after; we can now all enjoy the propaganda works, with international acclaim.

    Propaganda is half-truths and/or spin through the culmination of fragmented statements, a method used to better mislead the population into a singular agenda of self-promoting prospective. It is a method used to better rule and control those that one considers to be a part of ones flock, or for the process utility of recruitment. Something that Hitler and Stalin were very good at; you know, create hatred in the masses and then we can foolishly guide them as authorities through the propaganda that we feed them. When you self appoint yourself, as the leading authority of a person, then you had better be a true authority; it would require unfiltered eyes though. So, since you are such a leading authority of JM and have spent all of this time following his entire career, and know his voting record intimately, please tell me the Ear Marks that were on each of those bills. Again, I am not defending JM or representing him, I just want to be better informed and know the “COMPLETE” truths that are not filtered through agenda. Just trying to keep this intelligent as I read further up that Debra demands intelligence from everyone and insists that we remain well informed.

    So, let me get this correct: Your idea of business standards and practices also includes the hate factor? I mean if you agree with their hate, it is ok to screw the client and have confrontation with their subjects on set?

  237. Thanks Ben, well said. I wasn’t going to bother responding to Miss Weiss, it seems like a waste of time. I have dealt with hate filled liberals in the past and it get isn’t going to do anything. She’s in lock step and will tow the line to the death. It is sad that we have to deal with all this leftist crap in the work place. Bunch of idiots that I have no use for. Thanks again buddy.

  238. It is amazing to me that so much can be written about so little. Whether you admire, do not admire, find repulsive or adore the “work” of Jill Greenberg and her “manipulations” I cannot for the life of me see what all the fuss is about. A magazine decides to assign a “photographer” ( I use this word reservedly ) to shoot a cover of a political figure in the knowledge that the image(s) they will receive will have been given her signature retouching treatment. So far so good. The cover shot is one thing, if you happen to like this kind of overly lit and retouched to hell “photography”. And maybe, just maybe, these are the lengths to which this magazine has to go to get news stand recognition and all of the buzz that goes with that. I would have thought that they could have had just as big an impact assigning a more thoughtful REAL portrait photographer to the job. Someone of the same ilk as that of the late Richard Avedon for example. I trust America still has truly great photographers like him today? The “below the belt” shot and all the other retouched snaps which were once on her website are just a load of old bullshit, attention seeking nonsense as are her related comments. What is the big deal here? A “celebrity and animal photographer” as she has been described, airs her political views by bragging about the whole episode, posting some nasty retouched snaps of her prey on her website. So what? Sure, the Atlantic Monthly should have been a bit more careful in either there choice of “photographer”, a bit more vigilant about what she might do with the outtakes and maybe rake her over the coals of the justice system, if indeed there is a case to be made. As for the consequences for JG… does it really matter in the big picture? I can’t imagine why it would. I can’t find anything particularly interesting or arresting in her “photography” nor can I agree with those who have posted comments about her “creativity”, but then what do I know? As for those who think “It will now be harder for a new photographer to shoot any high profile piece in any magazine.”, I simply can’t imagine why that would be the case. It may be harder for JG, just maybe, but do you think she cares? She’s probably glad for the publicity and besides she can always go back to making kids cry for her.

    Funny game this photography business don’t you think?

  239. @238 – Ben – Please spare me yet another lecture and your twisting of a pretty insignificant comment on my part. This is still America where one can feel any way the choose to about anything – regardless of who is in the White House.

    Following one’s career and being aware of their voting record is a far cry from one being an “authority”. More twisting. Call me silly, but I’m kind of offended and just have a hard time warming up to anyone that would not only limit, but eliminate the rights of myself and others. His voting record is easily accessible should you really be interested.

    @239 -Benjamin Chesterton – could you please tell me who created “The Girl Effect”. It’s great.

  240. I have been assisting 15 hours a day, and haven’t had the chance to get back and answer @230 “No one important”…..

    @232 Ben. Thanks for sticking up for me, your response was much more intelligent than mine would have been, as I am still at the bottom of the very long ladder where JG seems to be at!

    I do have some comments and opinions to report back, some will call it chit chat and that’s just fine by me. I am hoping that people wasting their time on these blogs at least speak the truth! I do, and if others wish to discount my information, because I am an assistant, so be it.

    I freelanced with yet another photographer for 2 days, I think I was his 3rd assistant! That must be really bottom of the food chain! Anyway, the photographer, art buyer, art director, all discussed this blog over lunch! and it wasn’t the politics that they were discussing, it was JG using her professional privilege and access to mock her client and subject in the way that she did, was what everyone there was against…… Client, said quite clearly, as a fortune 500 company they would not use her, as they would not use any athlete, actor who had offended the public in any %…. It would just be bad PR for them…..

    I did stick my neck out a little and asked the AB to go on the blog and say something, no one seemed to have the time! I think this is mostly being read by photographers, assistants and in some cases their agents….. I don’t think anyone out side of a very small group of people really care about any of this. Except when and if they have to hire JG, they will have to see what the backlash would be to their business!

    I do object to death threats towards her and her family, except, as many don’t think I am qualified to give an opinion, I would like to read a police report, as I don’t believe that it’s true….. I think it’s just spin…..maybe by the art world to increase the price of her photographs!

    One final word, this discussion, I think should be about JG’s professionalism, and her abuse of access, complete disregard for her client. Her mocking and condescending statements towards JM, after having tricked him into posing for pictures with a fake lighting set-up. Everyone knows who JM is, and there are enough reporters out there telling us who JM and Obama are…. We don’t need JG to tell us, unless she has the courage to do so by arranging her own sitting with him! Or by lining up with the Paparazzi to catch him in a bad light!

    This is about JG, and her ethics as a photographer, to what lengths she would go to, to get her pictures, and it’s very telling as to what sort of a person she is. Please don’t tell me for a minute that JG is a GOOD PERSON! Because her actions in this case have proved to me she is not, and don’t say this is not about her! She has made it about herself and therefore given everyone the right to an opinion about her!

    I am a democrat, and feel embarrassed that she is one of us….. I’ll bet anyone out there, that even Obama won’t be photographed standing next to her! His handlers will whisk him away!!!! It will be bad bad PR for him too!

  241. Good Grief. This is still a topic of discussion? I think they should televise this tonight instead.

    As it stands I think it looks like a dead tie between Deb and Ben. Jodi, you are slipping in the polls and you might take the cue from JM’s camp and pull out to save face.

  242. @244, myles, you are right, I should pull out, except why have we gone off topic of what’s professional and what’s not? Lets forget for a moment that we are even talking about JG. Lets talk about any photographer who is hired and pulls such a stunt. Is it right or wrong? Will it affect the work she/he gets in the future? Is it a PR liability etc etc…. That’s what I would now like to learn about…..

  243. @ 238 – Debra, Debra, Debra— What am I going to do with you? I thought that you would be a formative foe, one who was in possession of an amount of wisdom, equal to that in which you self-proclaim. I too am extremely busy, probably more than you with recent events. As I kept reading your self righteous preaching’s, hidden in the cloche of knowing what you are talking about, I saw a pattern of demeaning prickliness towards others, in this long thread, the ones who have higher business standards and ethics, in comparison to your spineless advice. I had to get involved as your terrible advise may be destructive to the careers of those who may have thought that you knew what you were talking about and that it wasn’t filtered through uncommon levels of hatred.

    It seems that you maneuvered yourself in a flanking position to try and destroy anyone who understands proven professionalism and a proper code of business ethic. It became apparent, to me, that you enjoyed and wanted to publicly humiliate them and embarrass them through your numerous personal attacks, even on their character. You claimed that one persons grammar skills are an international embarrassment to you, or am I just spinning the documentation (from above an all over this thread) again? I was surprised that you did not attack mine but if you follow the progression, of my queries, you may gain an insight of how you lost sheltered guard with me; exposure is the reward of a carefully planned probe. Be careful now, you may note that people are smarter than you give them credit for. Many are able to read the exact words written from you, you left a long documented trail Debra, or would you just rather have each person ,that you have attacked, repost your quotes to them?

    I was growing tired of trying to unfry your eggs and see now that we have to deal with the birds. So, which will you be, the Goose or the Gander? Doesn’t really matter, as I understand one is just as good as the other. Funny how you feel that we should somehow feel badly because you now feel offended. Also, that entry-level PR attempt, of distraction, was an insult to our intelligence: Why would you solicit someone’s technique on this blog and in this topic, when you just left his or her site, forget how to email? I could not watch as your arrogance continued to glow, I felt that your hate-laden vision may have set influential photographers up for destroying their careers. It became apparent, to me, that your hatred for people is so strong that you don’t mind using other’s to serve as mindless warriors, perhaps to help settle personal potential agendas full of collateral externalities. You placed yourself in the roll of an ordained Shepherd and attacked proper professional standards and professional ethics, of which others in this thread tried to share. Of course, you treasure your knowledge so much that you feel your audience is made up of low IQ’s and short-term memory. Huge mistake, perhaps you should seek wisdom as knowledge may fail you.

    I thought that you had a grasp of Sun Tzu but I see now that you have no idea. I love Chess and thought that you may be entertaining but I see now that you were only playing checkers. I am growing bored with you now but due to the fact that you followed my lead, like a little puppet, this is what I think the real story may be. Your hatred is so strong that I am not sure that you might have proper restraint and that you may sacrifice anyone at anytime. At times, I cannot tell if I am talking with you or JG, doesn’t matter as there seems there may possibly be a bit of this terrible international story missing. Remember the part about the person that yells the loudest normally has the most to hide? Well, you made it well known that you and JG are great friends and you continued on this path of expert in knowing all of her thoughts. Due to an enormous amount of insults and personal attacks on others, from you, I have to merit the fact that you know JGs thought’s so well (your supplements and not mine). It seems to further reinforce something that Casey wondered. You know, the part that you did not like; about JG being used and then abandoned.

    So, since you know all of JGs thoughts and evidently you two talk to each other about everything. I have one last question for you: Were you involved in the preplanning of this deceitful act towards the client? If so, how much preplanning did you do? I am not suggesting that you are, I would like to better understand how one could have so much hate that they would advise commingled deceit with professionalism…

    I am done with you Debra, I have more intelligent matters to attend to and I have lost interest as you started pouting over a treatment towards you, one that is very tame when compared to your treatment towards others.

    You are a great person Jodi and you ethics are wonderful. I am proud to know that you are amongst the next generation of professional photographers!! my best wishes to you :)

  244. @246 – Ben – seriously – you have way too much time on your hands and you do appear to be rather deslusional.

    I guess anyone can write whatever they want when they don’t have balls to use their real and complete name.

  245. This blog really needs an editing function. This time with correct spelling.

    @246 – Ben – seriously – you have way too much time on your hands and you do appear to be rather delusional.

    I guess anyone can write whatever they want when they don’t have the balls to use their real and complete name.

  246. @ 247 – Don’t worry about spelling Debra, as long as the message is conveyed, most people over look grammar, the context matters most. :)

    As I said: I am done with you Debra… Now you play nice and let people voice their opinions with out attacking their character.

    Sorry about the spelling Deb, hope it doesn’t offend you.

  248. Since the role of Art is to ask questions, challenge us and provoke discussions, it looks to me that Jill Greenberg did her job pretty well here…
    I agree, it was not necessary to comment about the lack of sophistication of the publicists, but that’s all besides the point.
    Debra, it’s nice to see that as a former Rep, you value Art over Commerce. Your insights helped me understand her actions better in all that noise. Jill took the risk to express herself as an artist because the alternative was to silence herself for commerce. Did she really have a choice?
    She did her job, well as usual, and then she went on to express her opinion separately, with all the might of her manipulative creative tools. You may or may not agree with the message, there is definitely no blandness there. Jill, thanks for reminding everyone that our role is to tell visual stories, not just take pretty pictures.

  249. hmmm…the images are no longer on her site. i wonder why she took it down???

  250. photography-now.net is a fake version of photography-now.com and they are a bunch of crooks who steal photographers’ money. watch out they are dangerous…

  251. I find it ironic that this childish, disgusting and cowardly woman and her supporters hide her behind artistic license, a right which she appreciates thanks in great part to men and women who have risked and lost their lives defending this great country, and the rights of its people. I find it especially ironic that she chose the one candidate who actually personally faced, endured, sacrificed and prevailed against the harshest of conditions, to artistically defecate on, and all from the comfort of her studio here in the luxury of the “free world”.

    An honorable person with a differing political view could have chosen a much more productive and respectful course of action given her unique opportunity. How about behaving like an actual human being and actually having a discussion with him about her views?

    I see the art in this situation, but it has nothing to do with “the artist’s” intent, despite the best efforts of some of you here to claim that this was somehow part of her master plan. The art is in how the human condition can still sustain in reasonable equilibrium and peace despite the juvenile, self promoting, self indulgent and self centered acts of one human being without consideration of the consequences those acts have on another human being.

    It seems appropriate and even telling, that in one of her “works” she depicts that monkey shitting on him – because that is effectively what she did, and some of you call it art. I suppose that would make her the monkey – art imitating life or vice versa?

    I found this blog because I heard JM’s daughter mention this on TV tonight as something that deeply hurt her.

    Ms. Greenberg either feels no remorse, or is just happy, like a child, to retreat into a world where she does not have to face her failures or mistakes. Blame the magazine, blame McCain, blame conservatives – what about the person who actually planned and executed the deception of another human being and the defacing of his image?

    Perhaps she, and the others who condone her actions should consider the sequence of events that might have unfolded had this been a country where our personal liberties weren’t as important and as protected. One of the few important responsibilities we have as citizens which we are implicitly required to return, is to respect the liberties of our other fellow citizens. In all honesty, can you believe that she respected the liberties of John McCain?

    I suppose the fact that he is a conservative (although not from where I’m standing) makes it OK to do just about anything to him – doesn’t it? Shit on him. That’s what this country is about right?

    It is encouraging to see that many people here have been able to see through their political leanings, and engage in an honest and fair assessment of this situation, in essence practicing their citizenship in a professional manner despite their differing views. If Jill Greenberg had done the same, perhaps her career and her personal development could have actually benefited from this experience and perhaps a candidate for president might have even left her with a slightly broader and possibly better perspective than he had before he met her.

    Did you really gain Jill?

  252. […] Jill Greenberg is not afraid to dump all her clients at once. Mais uma opinião de dentro da classe sobre o que Greenberg fez. Todos são unânimes nas suas opiniões: Jill Greenberg abriu um grave precedente com esta pirueta e quem vier a seguir vai ter contractos mais apertados, publicistas em cima do trabalho dos fotógrafos, cláusulas penais restritivas, etc. O pior disto tudo é que Greenberg não teve a firmeza de carácter para segurar isto tudo, de repente as imagens desapareceram como por magia do seu sítio ‘The Manipulator’. Mas o rasto de destruição já traçou o seu caminho e deixou marcas difíceis de apagar, pelo menos para os fotógrafos que vêm a seguir. […]

  253. That\’s funny because it was only yesterday that I was blaming Britney\’s sobriety for my inability to quit smoking.

  254. but it\’s the truth…i don\’t like him but it\’s the truth

  255. and 2 years later she is still working as strong as ever. I guess that makes you wrong. Can’t wait to see the apology

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