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Jill Greenberg: How Much Should You Push the Envelope?


About this talk

Known for her stunning portraits of everything from crying children to grizzly bears, photographer Jill Greenberg makes work that inspires controversy. In this short cut, she talks about the tension between doing commercial work and making an artistic statement, concluding that “fear is the opposite of creativity.”

Jill Greenberg, President, Jill Greenberg Studio

Jill Greenberg was born in July of 1967 in Montreal, Canada, and grew up in a suburb of Detroit. She was based in NYC until 2000 and now resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two young children. Since the age of 10, Greenberg has staged photographs and created characters using the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture, film, and photography. Greenberg’s notable success with gallery and museum shows, book, publishing, commercial, and editorial photography displays her unique perspective with a clear voice, which is apparent through her distinctive lighting and personally executed postproduction. Greenberg is known worldwide for her uniquely human animal portraits. Her second monograph Bear Portraits was published in 2009 with Little, Brown and Company.

Comments (6)
  • Doug Bartow

    What Jill Greenberg did to McCain was just plain wrong. It doesn’t matter if she was subsequently hired to photograph Glenn Beck after the fact, etc.. That doesn’t justify betraying a subject/paid commission to make your own personal political statements at their expense. She crossed the line.

  • Malida T

    She stated that the magazine was not paying her for her service.

  • Ben

    I agree with Doug.

  • Bob

    Greenberg is a slave to her rabid left-wing political ideology, it trumps her ‘art’. She’s a complete trashmonger and phony. Go back to your rathole and keep your vermin politics out of our faces.

  • Kristina Carter

    Oh Bob, I’m pretty sure Jill is far from a slave to any political ideology. She just an American Artist thats is enjoying her “American” second amendment rights of FREE speech. I understand that with your rabid radical right-wing views that whole “free speech” thing might be hard to swallow but you really need to build a bridge and get over it. She’s and artist not a journalist, she’s not supposed to be neutral. I’m sorry Mcain wasn’t elected so there will not be any artists put in prison for their beliefs today. Put your blinders on, and go back to the mall, you little worker bee.

  • Seth

    While I don’t agree with McCain’s political views, it’s unfortunate that Jill deceived/lied about the intentions of her work and now she’s being celebrated for it. This is not how I’d like to grow my business.

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