Photographer Jill Greenberg made headline a couple years ago after she’d boasted about making her toddler models cry in order to get the shots she needed for her “End Times” exhibit. Now she’s making news again for deceiving a subject in order to get a portrait, but this time instead of a toddler it’s senior citizen John McCain.
The New York Post writes that Greenberg “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.
Greenberg, who is also known for highly stylized, retouched images of celebrities, boasted to the Post, “I left his eyes red and his skin looking bad.” However, she has posted some heavily retouched photos of McCain on her website including one with blood dripping out of his face. Thumbnails of the images above (originals here – to access click on “names” then scroll to John McCain, sorted by first name).
The photo session was for a cover story in Atlantic magazine on the Republican Presidential candidate. After hearing of Greenberg’s manipulation of the subject, editor James Bennet announced he wouldn’t be paying her for the photos, citing that she’d violated her terms of agreement with the magazine.
While I can’t speak to Greenberg’s specific motivations for these tactics, it seems that using lies and manipulation probably isn’t the way to make a statement against those same methods. Just sayin’.