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The Atlantic should have Googled Jill Greenberg before hiring her

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 14, 2008 11:03 PM

Scroll for updates…Atlantic to apologize to McCain for Greenberg…will not pay for photos, considering lawsuit…

I don’t feel sorry for The Atlantic magazine.

They are quite upset after discovering that Jill Greenberg, the left-wing photographer they hired to take photos of John McCain, is a deranged lunatic who manipulated pictures of the candidate to put him in a bad light — and then posted hateful photoshops of the images on her personal website and gloated about it to the Photo District News website.

Sample of her unhinged defacing of McCain’s pics, which looks like something straight out of a Democratic Underground thread:

Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg, whose cover story was tainted by Greenberg’s work, writes: “Greenberg doctored photographs of McCain she took during her Atlantic-arranged shoot, which took place last month in Las Vegas. She has posted these doctored photographs on her website, which you can go find yourself, if you must. Suffice it to say that her ‘art’ is juvenile, and on occasion repulsive. This is not the issue, of course; the issue is that she betrayed this magazine, and disgraced her profession.

Jill Greenberg disgraced her profession well before The Atlantic hired her.

A simple Google search would have turned up my post and posts by many professional photographers disgusted by what she did in 2004 and put on exhibit in 2006. This woman deliberately terrorized children, stripped them, ordered parents to “step out of the studio for a couple minutes” in concerted attempts to make children cry who were not cooperating, and then captioned the photos of the children with anti-Bush slogans.

Let me refresh your memories:

This is unbelievably sick. A left-wing photographer, Jill Greenberg, deliberately makes toddlers cry and turns the pictures into a Los Angeles art exhibit called “End Times” to indulge her Bush Derangement Syndrome. She slaps titles like “Grand Old Party,” “Four More Years,” and “Apocalypse Now” onto photos of the poor children she manipulated and goaded.

The Guardian covers the exhibit here with links to the children’s photos and reports how Greenberg deliberately provoked the children to tears:

When photographer Jill Greenberg decided to take a lollipop away from a small child, she had a broader purpose in mind.

“The first little boy I shot, Liam, suddenly became hysterically upset,” the Los Angeles-based photographer said. “It reminded me of helplessness and anger I feel about our current political and social situation.”

As the 27 two- and three-year-olds featured in her exhibition, End Times, cried and screamed, demanding the return of the lollipop given to them just moments before, Greenberg snapped away.

Someone at YouTube posted the gallery:

PopPhoto magazine published an interview with Greenberg, who used her own daughter in the anti-Bush exhibit as well, and speaks of the merits of children vs. monkeys as photo subjects:

When Jill Greenberg conceived the idea of photographing crying children back in 2004, she didn’t anticipate the attention the project would bring to her fledgling art career, or the furor it would raise. Greenberg, who lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children, is already known as one of the country’s most success commercial photographers, with work for ad clients like Microsoft, Kraft, and Procter & Gamble and magazines like New York and Time. She has emerged as a potent force in fine art with a series of acutely lit portraits of monkeys and apes, which in turn led to her work with children.

Your images have certainly caused an uproar. What do you say to people who call you a child abuser?

I think they’re insane…Maybe getting kids to cry isn’t the nicest thing to do, but I’m not causing anyone permanent psychological damage.

How many kids did you shoot altogether?

Around 35. Some were the children of friends, plus my own daughter; others came from the Ford or Jet Set model agencies. Kid models aren’t very expensive—not as expensive as monkeys, for example.

The lighting is very dramatic. How did you accomplish that?

It’s the same lighting I used for my portraits of monkeys, and I’ve been using it for some recent magazine cover portraits…

Greenberg talks about the larger purpose of her “work:”

I saw this little girl who’d come to a party with her mom, and she was beautiful, so I thought it might be interesting to photograph her. When they came to my studio, the mother brought along her toddler son, and I decided to shoot him too. We took off his shirt because it was dirty. He started crying on his own, and I shot that, and when I got the contact sheets back I thought, “This could go with a caption, ‘Four More Years,’” like he was appalled at George Bush’s reelection…

…That was one of the things that interested me about the project—the strength and beauty of the images as images. I also thought they made a kind of political statement about the current state of anxiety a lot of people are in about the future of the country. Sometimes I just feel like crying about the way things are going.

Oh, and that’s not all. Greenberg and her husband went on to viciously attack and harass one of the photographers who criticized her tactics.

The woman is off her meds. Her website is named “The Manipulator” – and the entry page features one of the sick photos of the children she terrorized for her anti-Bush exhibit.

The child abuse-for-art controversy made international headlines.

Greenberg’s by-any-means-necessary anti-Bush zealotry was infamous in her industry.

Who recommended her to The Atlantic? Who vetted her?

The editors purport to be shocked and disgusted.

This is the same magazine that pays the salary of that cretin demanding Trig Palin’s birth records.

This is the same magazine that captioned a photo of McCain “McCainloser.jpg” just five months ago.

And now they say they were “blindsided?”

“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.”

Blindsided…or just blind?

***

Update: The Atlantic’s editor James Bennet says he’ll apologize to McCain for the Greenberg fiasco.

Scott Johnson at Power Line points out that The Atlantic has much more to apologize for than Greenberg:

Substitute the word “hysterical” for the word “indecent” and Goldberg’s comment applies in spades to Andrew Sullivan, who has become the Atlantic’s marquee writer online. When I recently asked one of Sullivan’s colleagues at the Atlantic why it abides Sullivan’s disgrace of the magazine, he simply referred to the traffic Sullivan generates for the Atlantic online.

Sullivan is such a crude and hysterical polemicist that he long ago became a worthless if not virtually unreadable commentator. He is also utterly careless with basic facts. The case of Jill Greenberg simply adds an exclamation point to Sullivan’s disgrace of the Atlantic.

More: The magazine is refusing to pay Greenberg and is considering a lawsuit.

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