Monday, September 15, 2008

some facts about jill's photo shoot of mccain and other miscellany for any and all who want to comment intelligently...

1. jill owns the images of mccain. the atlantic had a (very) short embargo, and only for the purposes of selling said images.
2. jill's photo is on the cover of the atlantic magazine. i know this. i'm looking at it. she was asked to do a shot. she delivered on time and on budget. as always.
3. amy frickin' dresser IS NOT JILL'S PHOTOSHOP PERSON!!!!!!!!! she worked for jill YEARS ago, and learned her style from jill. ferfuxsake. the next person who guesses that amy is the "real talent" gets a slapping with some kind of wet noodle.
4. john mccain is a very powerful man who may soon become even more powerful. he can send people to war where they die, he can change tax law, he can press nuclear buttons. jill greenberg is a citizen of this country and can't do any of that stuff. and while notionally john mccain works for her in that regard, in fact we seem to be slipping ever more towards fascism here where Dear Leader Must Not Be Questioned. taking the side of the powerful against the less powerful is the character trait of the sycophant. (also, LEAVE JOHN MCCAIN ALONE WAAAAAAAHHHHHH)
5. jill has taken a significant chance of hurting her career in order to express her political beliefs. this used to be called courage. on strobist it is called "an opportunity for me to get a job that jill would have done." if there has ever been a bigger group of whiny opportunist yuppie-wanna-be bitches in history than non-working-photographers, please let me know where to find them. that i might kick them. nice solidarity, guys, but then you all underbid each other on a daily basis. stay classy.
6. i understand that part of being on strobist or such forums requires that you say "of course her lighting/photography/imagery sucks". i get it. it's the law. but, um, it makes you look like a bunch of jealous children.
7. the right wing in this country, or at least that portion of it that sends out e-mails en masse, simply cannot spell to save its life. it really is depressing. though oddly those e-mailers seem quite aware of how to spell "cunt" and "bitch". sexism is pretty much where they start: vitriol and death threats is where they end.
8. if michelle malkin, ann althouse, WND, Little Green Footballs, gerard "aware of all internet traditions" van den leun and strobist's publisher david hobby all hate you, you are obviously a good person.
9. any of those said right wingers who say "now i will vote for mccain, i was on the fence" are liars. like mccain and palin, lying seems to the main character trait of the far right.
10. if jill loses work because of this, so be it. it's a chance she's willing to take because she loves her country (she's an american citizen, she left canada when she was 2) and doesn't want to see it slide further into the abyss of neo-con stupidity. i support her in this, in all of this, 100%.

this post is necessarily not about the atlantic and the statements of their publisher, per the advice of counsel.


  1. Anonymous10:26 PM

    I am quite curious, husband-of-Jill, re:
    her corporate client base on

    Last I checked, this impressive list of sugar water purveyors, junk food manufacturers, alcoholic beverage sellers, and, well, Phillips Morris -- only the largest tobacco company in the United States -- aren't busy selling organic apples at farmer's markets.

    As a self-proclaimed Liberal who tries to practice what I preach -- and who works for an advertising agency that refuses on principle to associate with alcohol and tobacco companies -- I sincerely am interested in your response as to how you and your family live with this contradiction when you wake up every day.

  2. yes, it's a fair question i think. i don't know the right answer. i suspect that one way or another your firm is involved in stuff that might be suspect on some level--worker exploitation, unfair trade practice, perhaps some kind of military branch of the umbrella company and so on.

    what do we do? we are building a "green" house using every recyclable or green material we can find. i drive a plug-in hybrid that gets 200 plus mpg. we try to be the best people we can be. but there are times when commerce still wins. i hope that in the long run jill will live on her art alone.

    i've made a lot of movies for lifetime tv that were...well, i can't say i loved every one of them. but they helped to put food on the table.

    i can't tell from your tone if you really want to have a conversation or not, so that's all i've got for now.

  3. Anonymous11:14 PM

    Robert, I appreciate your prompt response. Due to my work at a high profile agency I cannot disclose my client list on a public-facing blog. It is also why I am posting anonymously. You will have to go on faith by my statement that my company chooses not to take on alcohol or tobacco clients. To be fair, some of my major clients are apparel retailers who do business with textile manufacturers based in China and other third world countries.

    When it comes down to it, no one has their hands clean in a capitalist economy, except, maybe, public school teachers who only buy fair trade and North American-made products, and walk to work.

    It just seems a bit naive to me that your wife takes such a brave and controversial stance -- and opens herself up to the subsequent backlash -- when her track record discloses more than beautiful celebrity photography.

    It just gives everyone, from the Atlantic editorial staff down to right wing bloggers, license to shoot the messenger instead of looking at what she has to say.

    One thing that I will disclose is that I have easy access to the source code of my Fortune 500 clients' websites. So even though I am far less famous than Jill, I could do something potentially as damaging -- and then I would get fired for likely causing millions of dollars of lost business to both my client and my agency, and then get sued by both and face bankruptcy. You should seriously consider yourself lucky that it was the Atlantic Monthly that got egg on its face, not, say, General Electric (not my client).

    Anyway, time for bed.

  4. I'm curious how Jill (and you) justify it as an ethical business choice.

    From the moment I heard about it, I figured she was within her legal rights. But that's not really the issue. Not everything legal is right. Was it that she feels the bigger cause here trumped her business ethics? I could understand that line of reasoning but I'd like some explanation of the wisdom behind it.

    I'm also curious about whether she (or you) considered more far reaching implications it might have on the profession of photography itself.

    Never mind the people saying they are glad because they might get a job that Jill won't now... what about those photographers who don't want their political opinions questioned before they are offered a job shooting some politician or another?

    I have a hard time believing it was worth it for the size of the impact Jill made. And, beyond the size, there is no real way to gauge whether it was even a positive impact from her political perspective.

    Really, it's hard not to question whether there was a certain element - conscious or unconscious - of attention seeking on Jill's part. It rather feels like she wanted to grab a bit of the spotlight for herself and this was more of a publicity stunt than anything.

    For what it's worth, I'm a democrat. I voted for Hillary and I will vote for Obama. I don't have any passionate feelings about Jill's work one way or the other. And I'm not throwing any stones. I really would just like to understand the thinking that went into it. Or to know if it wasn't really thought much about at all...

  5. vegas guy2:20 PM

    i am somewhat confused by the comments of the anonymous ad person. why does it really matter who jill's clients are? her obvious dislike and apprehension of john mccain don't have to correlate to how she makes her money. unless of course her client base is comprised of exploratory oil drilling, anti-abortionist, war mongering, multiple house owning, republicans. if that is the case, then she is a hypocrite. if not, then i think it's fair for her to make money the best way that she knows how to, and still make a political statement that ruffles the feathers of the opposition. lest we not forget, we do live in a free least for now.

    on a somewhat similar note, i love how quick people are to attack jill's character because they disagree with her statement. as i've noted in many of the blogs that are talking about this, people seem to feel that if you disagree with someone's point of view, then it gives you license to attack them on a personal level. when in reality, the point of an artistic statement such as this is to open up a discourse about the subject, not just about the artist. let's all try to remember that this is art that we are talking about. and obviously very powerful art at that (given the media storm that it has created). so my hat is off to jill and any other artist out there who is willing and able to make something that gets this many people talking. i only wish that people were focusing more on the issues that jill is questioning, and less on the juvenile name calling.

    keep up the good work jill.

  6. J-Bones

    yes, i do think there was "attention seeking" going on. but the attention that was sought was a wider audience for the images in question--agitprop is better that is more widely seen and disseminated.

    as for the thinking about the political impact--jill and i spent a ton of time thinking about that. and to honest, we don't think the democrats style of rational debate works in the face of aggressive moral relativism and post-modern "there is no objective truth" argument style.

    and i used to think that stuff was the province of the left--rove (via atwater) realized you can just lie and lie and the MSM isn't capable, with its "objective he-said she-said" model, to report accurately what has happened.

    also, fuck mr. "aware of all internet traditions.".