Jun 29, 2006
posted at 01:12 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid
image © Jill Greenberg
See more at Paul Kopeikin Gallery web site…
There is a bit of controversy on-line regarding the End Times series of photographs by Jill Greenberg. The photographs depict a series of children in differing stages of frustration and rage. It’s basically a bunch of toddlers screaming and crying. Thomas Hawk has gone so far as to call for her arrest on child abuse charges.
The use of a child in any media endeavor (film, tv, theater, art installations, child beauty pageants, etc) is exploitative. Obviously, a young child can’t make an informed decision as to their participation in a particular enterprise so they are all being ‘used’ to some degree.
The question of whether or not the children in Jill Greenberg’s photos are being exploited is simple. Yes they are. But why does Thomas Hawk see this as any worse than the thousands children being exploited everyday in our media? Why does he perceive child abuse in these photographs?
My answer is that the power of the photos overwhelms him; he’s a naive viewer. He sees compelling photos of distressed children and can’t separate the fiction of the photo from the reality of its making.
Hawk is simply a fool. He has no idea what went on in Greenberg’s studio, but that doesn’t stop him from screeching “child abuse” as loud as he’s able. He has no facts, he only has the photos — a fiction — but he recklessly calls for the artist’s arrest. It’s inexcusable. In fact, according to Greenberg’s husband (Hawk posted a comment from him at the bottom of this post), the children were made to cry by having lollipops taken away from them. If that’s child abuse we’ll need to lock up 99% of the parents in this country. Greenberg’s husband goes on to say that this is the industry standard method of getting kids to cry on camera. I have no idea, having no experience and the source of this info is obviously tainted.
This is the part of the post where I’m a dick. I’m trying to figure out why Hawk went ballistic regarding Greenberg, when this sort of thing goes on daily in the media industry. My guess is that he’s jealous. He’s an amateur and not very talented photographer whereas Greenberg is a very successful and enormously talented commercial and fine art photographer. Her End Times photos are incredibly well crafted, beautiful and powerful, whereas his answering photo is trite and cliche.
Note: In the time it took me to start and finish this post (a span of a few days), Jill Greenberg and her husband have done a few not-so-nice things to try to shut Thomas Hawk up. They should have kept the moral high-ground, but they decided to try some bully tactics. Their actions are inexcusable. But Hawk’s a self-rightous fool so I guess it evens out. permanent link to this post