Sun 25 Jun 2006
A few months ago Thomas Hawk wrote an article describing Jill Greenberg’s photography as the worst kind of child pornography Well he followed it up with this piece What Jill Greenberg does is manipulates children (under age 3) to get the shot she wants. You can see some of them here, but we warned they present children in states of anguish and despair.
If one looks at the photos and knows that these kids were intentionally manipulated it does give your stomach a bit of a jolt. Now, Thomas Hawk is very opinionated and uncensored, which is exactly what a blog should be, but I feel he was and continues to be slightly too harsh. I was all for his rant until I read the response from Jill’s husband.
Jill did not “abuse” the children, nor abuse them. they were given lollipops, and then those were removed from the kids. Jill didn’t speak to them–the parents were there monitoring the whole time. this is the EXACT technique used in ads and movies and TV. I’m a producer in two of those mediums and have been through this before, so i know whereof i speak.
The images are so powerful that you want someone to blame. Also, as is true in all images of this type, art is in the eye of the beholder. In this case, Jill is trying to make a political point. Does the fact that she is selling these prints at, sit down, $4,500 a pop dilute this message. I think so. To be fair here is her message:
The most dangerous fundamentalists arenâ€™t just waging war in Iraq; theyâ€™re attacking evolution, blocking medical research and ignoring the environment. Itâ€™s as if they believe the apocalyptic End Time is near, therefore protecting the earth and 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.â€
Art or abuse? It is up to you to decide.