Jill Greenberg seems to have a bit of a mean streak! Whether snatching lollipops from small children (the reason all those kids are wailing in her “End Times” series) or luring Republicans to a dark corner of her studio for the Nosferatu treatment (“How Jill Greenberg Really Feels About John McCain”, PDNPulse, 09.12.2008), she’ll do what it takes to get the shot she wants!
Full disclosure: I’m no fan of McCain, and I do think the images are smirk worthy. But they’re kinda dumb, and way over the top. Greenberg (theoretically) understands the subtle power of images as influence, as she claims to have done little of her signature retouching on the image that did make The Atlantic’s cover. So why not just let your work speak? (I do believe this is “her work” as opposed to straight photojournalism – I’d assume The Atlantic hired Greenberg because they wanted one of her photographs, not just any photograph. I’m going to skip the very long discussion of art vs. photojournalism).
Virtual barrels of digital ink are being spilled because of this story, but what really chafes my hide is Greenberg’s gloating. She crows about how she tricked McCain and his handlers, calling them “not very sophisticated.” She adds bloody fangs to an image and posts it on her website, as if her professional portal to the globe were the lunchroom bulletin board at a college newspaper.
It’s okay to have your opinions. It’s fine to work to subvert the system. That is what artists do. Go ahead and bring your technical and conceptual prowess to the job of making a subtle but firm statement. But save the Photoshop antics for yourself and your pals. It’s a funny gag, but the smear to photojournalism’s name isn’t worth the giggle.