Originally Posted by Lee Shively
I don't have any kids, but I like kids, and certainly have spent some time with other people's kids.
It seems to me that if you want to put together a show featuring a set of photographs of crying three year olds, you probably just need:
1) to bring a fair number of three year olds into your studio (one at a time);
2) interract in a gentle and friendly manner with the three year olds, and photograph them.
Some of the three year olds will smile, some will laugh, some will get sleepy, and a few will be upset and cry, no matter how gentle and friendly you might be.
Then just put aside the photographs of the upset and crying children, for the purpose of your show. The other photographs - if they are good, the parents will love them. If they are mediocre, the parents will love them, if they are terrible...
It seems to me, Ms. Greenberg is just too lazy to do this the slow but gentle way.
Originally Posted by Stargazer
Actually, as soon as I saw this, one of my first thoughts was to compare her work with Sally Mann's.
Seems to me, Jill Greenberg is a good photographer to compare to Mann, being as she appears to be an Anti-Sally Mann or a Bizarro world Sally Mann.
Mann photographed her children in the entire range of their organic states. As far as I know, although she photographed them happy, sad, placid, hurt and sick, she never *caused* them to be crying, hurt or sick for the purpose of her photography.
Greenberg seems (to me) to be all about the subtext of her images, saying what they mean about the Bush administration, etc. Mann says over and over again that her images are solely about their face value, not any over-reaching symbology, though I suspect that what she really means is that it's up to each of us to assign personal meaning to her images. Mann's images are so completely archetypal, that I fail to see how you can view any of them and not connect them to numerous other experiences.
Should all images of children be only of them happy and smiling? The second image I ever took of my daughter was when she was 5-10 minutes old and crying her heart out. Instead of trying to get to to stop crying, I was photographing her. When my son was two or three, and we were dropping him off for his first day of daycare and he was bawling his eyes out. Yes, we comforted him, but I also photographed the occasion to save it for years in the future. Do these incidents make me abusive?
One of the issues at the core of this discussion is an issue central to reportage: is it irresponsible to photograph something negative instead of acting to prevent/change/stop it?
Granted, we're talking really about portraiture, but isn't some portraiture a form of reportage?
I really would like to see this thread come to a consensus about where the line is, or at least offer some well-reasoned opinions on same.
My opinions on Mann's and Greenberg's work couldn't be further apart.
If, in ten thousand years, all that was left of how our civilization values its children and how we regard their various forms of beauty was the photography of Sally Mann, future generations would have a much better view of us than if the representative work was popular television, Abercrombie and Fitch, or Saturday morning cartoons, for that matter.
I find Greenbergs work utterly repugnant, and her methods doubly so. Kid's lives have enough sense of confusion, abandonment and anguish without intentionally inflicting it on them. Her images look like she's gone crazy with just about every photoshop widget she could find. Artisticly, they're little better than that shot of the baby with the bowl of spaghetti dumped on her head that most of us probably saw in the seventies.
clearly, there's a line.
where is it?
On the link I presented where her husband, some sort of movie producer defends her actions, by saying something like this happens all the time in the advertising and movie biz. Directors manipulate emotions to get what they want.
I have read that the famous Sharon crotch shot in Basic Instinct was manipulated by the director who said the shot would not be used or that it was out of frame or whatever. Stone was outraged when she found it was in the final version. Until it earned her immense praise for being so bold and in character with the scene. She later embraced the whole thing and it made her more famous than before.
I've heard that in scenes with children they often do things to make them cry or get emotional when the scene needs it. So he is correct they do it all the time.
But is it right.
I suggest that it is not. And these powerful but highly manipulated pictures are victimizing their subject matter for personal gain.
I have been on a number of movie sets and the actors/talent are expendable and fodder for whatever "art" is being produced by the flavor of the month director. Remember this is all about one thing. MONEY.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
"Remember this is all about one thing. MONEY."
Actually, two things: Money and Celebrity.
There's probably as many power whores running around loose as there are money whores.
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Originally Posted by Lee Shively
I think this is a very good idea, if quite hard. I think this thread is very positive - I like to see ideas thrown up and explored - and then go for the jugular! I think there is a lot of consensus, in fact, in that there are a lot of uncomfortable and negative feelings about this artist and her work.
Originally Posted by kwmullet
I'm not sure I can completely define 'the line' but I know that one thing that is very important to me in portraiture is the issue of consent, both to being photographed and equally importantly, to being published. Of course this is complicated where children are concerned; but one thing that worries me intensely is the way parents can be seen to take full responsibility for "the consent" to whatever may happen to their children (as models ).
In my view Greenberg has gone too far by failing to consider that ESPECIALLY because of the nature of what she wants them to do, her child models have a right NOT to be involved. As they are unable to refuse consent themselves, then the whole project should have been seen to be flawed and dangerous. It is different from reportage in that the photographer in that case is not CAUSING the state the child may be suffering, but reporting it. (There may still be issues around publication of the image).
(p.s. for the record, I also think Greenberg's approach is totally different from Sally Mann's, but raised it for the sake of argument, as Mann has had to face similar accusations to those levelled at Greenberg. Not only is what Sally Mann was doing completely different, but the relationship between photographer and child/children is completely different).
That's my offering of 'a line' - but I think there may be other lines also
Originally Posted by Stargazer
Perhaps one could start with a Photographer's form of the Hippocratic Oath? "First do no harm in eliciting a desired response in a model or subject."
I have no problem with very young children posing as models (think of those cherubic looking infants on baby food jars) - but I don't think they should be manipulated and abused to "get the pic".
[QUOTE=copake_ham]Perhaps one could start with a Photographer's form of the Hippocratic Oath? "First do no harm in eliciting a desired response in a model or subject."QUOTE]
Perfect! Now for the rest of the oath - volunteers?
Didn't Hitler do a series of images like this in 1942?
Beer is God's way of telling us that he loves us and wants us to be happy.