Jill Greenberg, one of the most success commercial photographers at the moment, conceived the idea of photographing children crying back in 2004. She related the emotional impact to the despair of seeing G.W. Bush become reelected in 2004 and called it End Times.
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. The images have a real power—they immediately get under your skin. The emotion you see is just so compelling, yet they’re beautiful at the same time. 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.- Jill Greenberg
She probably didn’t anticipate the attention the project would raise. Certainly it is out of question that the idea is very original and the execution remarkable. She is building a unique style in fine art portrait photography with very original portraits of monkeys and apes, which in turn led to her work with children. I will comment on her work with portraits of monkeys in a future post in this blog. A unique component in her style is the digital post production of the images, with her signature look for skin tonality, highlights and skin reflections. Despite being manipulated, her images don’t loose the photographic impact and feel. Nowadays, the commercial landscape is tending very much in to digitally manipulated images, and so artists like Jill Greenberg who combine outstanding lighting and photographic skills with digital mastery are leading the field. Very properly, her website is named “The manipulator“.