Sunday, September 14, 2008

Professional Photographer Doctors McCain Photorgraphs

This story of photography gone wrong is popping up all over the net. Recently the magazine the Atlantic hired Jill Greenberg to take photographs of John McCain for a cover story. The problem? Greenberg is wildly anti-Bush and anti-Republican. She's welcome to have those views, but why would you hire her to take a picture of McCain?

Highlights of her behavior:
Greenberg, known for her heavily retouched pics of apes and babies, boasted to Photo District News that she submitted photos of the Arizona senator to the mag while barely airbrushing them.

"I left his eyes red and his skin looking bad," she boasted.
Greenberg also crowed that she had tricked McCain into standing over a strobe light placed on the floor - turning the septuagenarian's face into a horror show of shadows.

Asking McCain to "please come over here" for a final shot, Greenberg pretended to be using a standard modeling light.

The resulting photos depict McCain as devilish, with bulging brows and washed-out skin.

"He had no idea he was being lit from below," Greenberg said, adding that none of his entourage picked up on the light switch either. "I guess they're not very sophisticated," she said.
Her Web site now features a series of Photoshopped pics of McCain in some highly unflattering poses - including one that has a monkey squirting dung onto the Republican candidate's head.

Another one reads "I am a bloodthirsty warmongerer," with McCain retouched to have needle-sharp shark teeth and a vicious grin, while licking blood-smeared lips.
Here are a few examples of Greenberg's "work".

The story here is not that some childish anti-Bush idiot (sorry, call'em like I see'em) went off an acted like one might expect a pouting 10-year-old to act; the story is that the Atlantic hired her. What does that say about the Atlantic? Now the actual picture on the cover was much more tame, a point the Atlantic editor James Bennet is quick to make:
"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."
No, what is incredibly unprofessional is that you hired her in the first place. Even the wacko photograph agrees with that assessment:
Some of my artwork has been pretty anti-Bush, so maybe it was somewhat irresponsible for [The Atlantic] to hire me.
The editor ends with:
We don't vet our photographers by their politics.
May I suggest that perhaps you should?

Update: More on this story as The Atlantic responds covered here.

1 comment:

Keith Kannenberg said...

I find tt hard to blame the Atlantic here. It's utterly amazing that a professional photographer would be so unprofessional as to pull this kind of a stunt. I suspect that no one would ever have dreamed of doing this even a few years back. For some politics has become so emotional that they can't function in a rational, professional manner.